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Slightly Skeptical EuroMaidan Chronicles, May 2014

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Two horrible crimes were committed by junta in May. That changed the whole situation to the worse.  See Odessa Massacre of May 2, 2014 and Mariupol killings. The strength of feeling and disgust with the West in general and the USA in particular is well reflected in the Guardian comments reproduced below:

Dima Nevin , 08 May 2014 12:55am 
May 2 terrible crime happened in Odessa (Ukraine). Judging by your restraint comment on this event you are on the side of those who committed this evil. You have supported and continue to support the authorities in Ukraine that perpetrators of such crimes through its fascists and US&EU mercenaries and US&EU advisers. U.S. and Gayrope paid for this and other crimes of the fascist Ukrainian authorities against its own citizens. Look what you're doing using the new Ukrainian authorities! I wish you let your children and your relatives the same fate in the near future!

http://ersieesist.livejournal.com/813.html

I pray every day I ask God for the same part for you! After the tragedy in Odessa (Ukraine) may 2 I undertake to celebrate as a holiday every tragedy in the U.S. and Europe! I pray that you all are dead as soon as possible! 

MysticFish ->  Dima Nevin, 08 May 2014 8:33am

Mainstream media’s silence on this does come across as sinister complicity. Furthermore if you have seen the many photo-accounts of this Nazi mass-killing, the most shocking thing is that it, and the political, implications of not condemning this atrocity, are being ignored. I, too, am in a state of shock from which I cannot move on, due to the lack of public acknowledgment of this crime. Without the criminal culprits being acknowledged (instead the surviving victims were imprisoned) the world suddenly seems a hopelessly lawless place, where nationalist football mobs are now encouraged to feel they can falsely accuse and then bloodthirstily massacre their own innocent countrymen, with impunity, merely as sport.
THX010101  -> Dima Nevin, 09 May 2014 2:27pm
>Woah, very, very gruesome report.

It is disgusting the way that this horrendous event has been 'air-brushed' by the Western media. However, I know you are upset (and how couldn't you be?) but I don't think you really believe this:

I pray that you all are dead as soon as possible!

A very interesting Churkin speech in US: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyNTemyACI8

One of the best finds of the month was the comment  to  In Ukraine, the US is dragging us towards war with Russia by John Pilger

Beckow -> NOTaREALmerican 13 May 2014 10:20pm

US government means well, after all they say so all the time. The scary thing is that they are - most of them - probably quite sincere in this narcissistic delusion. The elites in Washington are not as much evil (there is a bit of that), as they completely lack experience. They misunderstand history, they live in clichés, they like to argue with slogans. So "bombing" other people for freedom are just words they throw around. Any rival is always demonized, any lie will do.

The media mostly acts to elaborate on existing stereotypes, otherwise people simply couldn't grasp what is going on. It is the lazy leading the ignorant. As long as the good fortune and wealth lasts, it is an amusing spectacle. But what if one day the goodies are gone?

These elites lack real experiences with life. Their education is based on simplistic good-bad formulas, with a heavy doses of myths. Their understanding of other people's history is dismal. They think WWII was won by US invasion of Normandy and fought over Holocaust. They don't get other people because they simply don't get complexity, nuance, local histories. They still don't understand the concept of "ethnic" identity. So they break stuff and retreat to their ignorance.

There is also the acquisitive angle: give us your resources, buy our stuff, borrow and pay us back, after all US is primarily a business. There are too many around the world who dream of getting something from the benevolent Americans, and some do. Enough to keep this latter day cargo cult going. In Ukraine this mindless US approach hit a wall, so they are angry. When people with no real experiences and a great sense of self-worth and entitlement get angry, it can be scary. But I still think at the end they will pull back, they have a short attention span and there are other, easier places to liberate and plunder.

Another important finding of the month was comment of John Mearsheimer  explaining why most Americans including Washington politicians view the United States as “the benign hegemon.” ( Kerry’s Propaganda War on Russia’s RT)

On RT’s “Crosstalk,” John Mearsheimer made the important point that Americans view the United States as “the benign hegemon.” He explained:

“We think we’re different from other great powers and that when we expand our influence, countries like Russia will understand that we’re ultimately not very threatening because we are the good guys in the international system. This is a remarkably foolish way of thinking about the world. But I think that, if you spend any time in Washington, it becomes clear that this delusion is widespread.”

I have always harbored doubts that Official Washington could really believe all that and use it to underpin foreign policy, but I defer to Mearsheimer on this. The point here is that it is the guidance given to, and adhered to, strongly by the corporate media that serves to impoverish the citizenry’s store of accurate information. The way things are going, it will be far easier to drum up support for the kind of risk taking that could lead to war with Russia than was the case on Syria. That’s one key problem; but there is another.

It pointed me to other John Mearsheimer works, such as The Tragedy of Great Power Politics  and articles about his views including Why John J. Mearsheimer Is Right (About Some Things) - Robert D. Kaplan - The Atlantic

Mearsheimer writes anarchy on the board, explaining that the word does not refer to chaos or disorder. “It simply means that there is no centralized authority, no night watchman or ultimate arbiter, that stands above states and protects them.” (The opposite of anarchy, he notes, borrowing from Columbia University’s Kenneth Waltz, is hierarchy, which is the ordering principle of domestic politics.) Then he writes the uncertainty of intentions and explains: the leaders of one great power in this anarchic jungle of a world can never know what the leaders of a rival great power are thinking. Fear is dominant. “This is the tragic essence of international politics,” he thunders. “It provides the basis for realism, and people hate people like me, who point this out!” Not finished, he adds: “The uncertainty of intentions is my Sunday punch in defense of realism, whenever realism is attacked.”

...His office, littered with books and file boxes, is graced with pictures of America’s two preeminent realists: Hans Morgenthau from the first half of the 20th century, and Samuel Huntington from the second half. Morgenthau, a German Jewish refugee who, like Mearsheimer, taught at the University of Chicago, once wrote that realism “appeals to historic precedent rather than to abstract principles [of justice] and aims at the realization of the lesser evil rather than of the absolute good.” Huntington, the late Harvard professor who died in 2008, challenged the policy elite with his famous idea of a “clash of civilizations,” and with his earlier notion, perhaps more provocative, that how people are governed—democratically or not—matters less than the degree to which they are governed: in other words, the United States always had more in common with the Soviet Union than with any weakly governed state in Africa.

...Morgenthau’s 1948 classic, Politics Among Nations, was published when he was 44, Fukuyama’s The End of History was published as a book when he was 40, and Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations as a book when he was 69. Mearsheimer began writing The Tragedy of Great Power Politics when he was in his mid-40s, after working on it for a decade. Published just before 9/11, the book intimates the need for America to avoid strategic distractions and concentrate on confronting China. A decade later, with the growth of China’s military might vastly more apparent than it was in 2001, and following the debacles of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, its clairvoyance is breathtaking.

...Whereas Tragedy is a theory, The Israel Lobby is a polemic, a tightly organized marshalling of fact and argument that does not necessarily delegitimize Israel, but does delegitimize the American-Israeli special relationship. Lobby lacks the commanding, albeit cruel, objectivity that Mearsheimer evinces in Tragedy. It negatively distorts key episodes in Israel’s history—beginning with its founding—and in effect denies Israel the license that Mearsheimer grants other countries, including China, to act as good offensive realists. He and Walt equate U.S. support for Israel with Soviet support for Cuba, thereby equating a pulsating democracy with a semi-failed authoritarian state

An interesting analysis of Ukrainian presidential election results was offered by Saker:

[May 8, 2014] Putin offers Obama a gamit the latter cannot refuse

This is when things get really interesting for a number of reasons.

  1. For one thing, the economy is completely dead and nobody, really nobody, has any idea as to what to do about it.
  2. Second the degree of hatred between the western Banderastan and the eastern Donbass is at an all-time high and nobody has any idea as to how to make all these people coexist together.
  3. Third, and there are a lot of signs in Kiev and elsewhere that this is already beginning to happen, social unrest triggered by the economic collapse is going to go from bad to worse with each passing week.
  4. Fourth, now that the neo-Nazi thugs do not have a "patriotic" job to do anymore - what kind of "activities" will keep them busy next?

His verdict is that elections does not matter: Ukraine is already a failed state ruled by far right junta. That will not change as far right never abolish power voluntarily. 

Another interesting find was Jim Dean's article We are all East Ukrainians now. It well worth reading in full, but here is one telling quote.

All they seem to be thinking now is how to extricate themselves out of the mess they created. Their Ukraine gambit could backfire on them much worse than they ever expected.

If Europeans were smart, they would see their leadership for what it really is… a European-version Kiev that cluelessly demonizes their Russian trading partner with whom they have a $110B surplus, at a time where every job and export-Euro is not a luxury but critically necessary. How stupid is that?


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It's easy to pretend to be a great strategist,
while sitting on the top of the hill,
at the safe distance from the battle in the valley

Shota Rustaveli

"Plunderers of the world, when nothing remains on the lands to which they have laid waste by wanton thievery, they search out across the seas. The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power.

Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they create a desolate wasteland, they call it peace."

Tacitus, Agricola

[May 31, 2014] Lyashko as new Banderowski leader by Stanislav Apetyan

Actually far right got more then 20% because Timoshenko was not really far from Lyashko, Yarosh and Tyahnybok. So we probably ned to count electorate of all three of them. That means that they are formidable political force in Ukraine, no question about it.
May 30, 2014 | vz.ru

"Just three months Lyashko become the new idol of "zapadinsky shkoloty" (West Ukrainian Internet lumpens) people who actively repost publications of "Right sector" in Vkontakte Social network.

The elections in Ukraine were held for almost a week ago. And despite that I still occasionally come across on a thesis of the stupid talking points promoted by our desperate fighters against the regime (in particular, distinguished efforts in this areas were demonstrated by Navalny, Sobchak, Nemtsov, Malgin, Adagamov, Aleshkovsky).

This thesis sounds as following:

"Haha, look, Yarosh with Tyahnybok in the elections for two scored only 2%, and therefore, there is no substantial base for "Right sector" and no Bandera scum in Ukraine. They do not exist and this all is just Russian propaganda, ha-ha."

It does take too much effort to guess who is the author and the financial supporter of those talking points, actually repeated almost literally by all Russian opposition leaders.

But it is sad that some part of public swallowed this lie. So where Bandera followers who voted in those elections moves and why they disappeared?

To understand the answer to this question, it is enough just to open the official results and see what the third place on them with a slight lag from Timoshenko took Oleg Lyashko, who scored 11% of the vote.

He was the most aggressive, most psychopathic candidate with criminal past. And he defiantly was the Presidential candidate with the most frozen out human conscience and aggressive rhetoric in this election campaign. He himself went to Donbass at the head of a detachment of armed mercenaries and captured and tortured members of local pro-federalization militias.

Such not very sophisticated electoral technologies

Therefore, no wonder that in just three months Lyashko become the new idol of "zapadinsky shkoloty" (West Ukrainian Internet lumpens) in social networks including "Right sector" members represented in such social networks as Vkontakte, ousting from pedestal previous "spiritual leaders" of Banderovtsev Tyahnybok, and Jarosz.

[May 31, 2014] Ahead of Ukraine elections, a generational split on nationalism

May 25, 2014 | The Washington Post

But many Russian leaders see Ukraine as something less than a full-fledged nation. Generations of Soviet Ukraine's best and brightest rose to the top of the Soviet hierarchy, including leaders Nikita Khrushchev and ­Leonid Brezhnev.

"Kiev is the mother of the Russian cities. Russian language, Russian religion, Orthodox Christianity was born on the territory of Ukraine as it stands now. We do not consider ourselves foreigners," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Bloomberg TV this month.

"We have been one nation for more than 300 years, even before that," he said. "The Slavs brought their religion there more than 1,000 years ago. It's absolutely impossible to miss the psychological, historical, family feeling, if you wish."

For centuries, Ukraine's territory was trapped between European and Russian empires, and apart from a brief window after World War I, its independent existence as a country came only after 1991. The north and west are largely Catholic and Ukrainian-speaking. The south and east are more Orthodox and Russian-speaking, although the groups are deeply intermingled and many ethnic Ukrainians are ­Orthodox.

... ... ...

"I'm for a united country, but the Donetsk region should be part of a federation," said Roman Danilevskiy, 20, who is studying engineering at National Technical University in the eastern city of Donetsk and was drinking beer with some classmates at a cafe one recent evening.

"Half of Ukraine is Ukrainian, but half the country speaks Russian, and that's why we lost Crimea," Danilevskiy said.

... ... ...

Even in the east, where a hastily organized, separatist-backed referendum May 11 led to the separatist leadership declaring the independence of the self-proclaimed People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, most people want a unified country, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted last month. Seventy percent of people in the east, and 58 percent of Russian speakers there, wanted borders to remain unchanged, the survey found.

... ... ...

And at a small pro-separatist demonstration in Donetsk, some said they did not see Ukraine as a country.

"I have nothing against Ukrainians. I have a lot of relatives here," said Pyotr Belykh, 65. But he said he mistrusts the "western Ukrainians" who he said were not "genuine Ukrainians." He blames them for stirring up trouble and dividing the country. Ukraine, he said, is an artificial concept.

"There were no Ukrainian borders in 1991," Belykh said. "There was only one Soviet border."

Selected Comments

wimroffel

This article is trying to discard the present dispute in Ukraine as generational. I don't see much evidence. Yes, the younger have never known other than living in Ukraine and they are reluctant to change that - as would be anyone in any country.

But that doesn't take away that there is a big gap between East and West Ukraine: they tend to vote for different parties and presidential candidates. They have a different look at the Maidan: in the East half the population considers the present government illegal. And with Kiev sending tanks in East Ukrainian cities and treating all resistance as "terrorist" instead of entering a dialogue these differences are becoming polarized. And that is not along generational lines.

Kleonid

I very glad to see that cbl55 get already 10 "Like". It mean that most Americans is brainwashed fools who do not able use logic. It mean the country have very great problem with education system.

Kleonid

If Ukrainian's Junta would not kill E. Ukrainians and instead it would try negotiate with separatists all would be significantly better, there could be done referendum and vote in the same day.

Kleonid

If you name E. Ukrainians as terrorists then you must name Kiev's junta also like terrorists.

LostinSweden

In general, I agree with the article. Pensioners in Ukraine receive $70/month, while in Russia pensions are three times higher or more. Utility costs have now been increased following the IMF loan. The cost of food is similar in price to other countries. So the pensioners have a strong financial motivation to join Russia, but in addition as you state in your article many of them grew up under a Soviet system which gave them pride, and protection. However most of them do have the benefit of owning their own home - gifted from the State when Ukraine became independent.

Many Ukrainian families all sleep in the same room, using sofa beds. Youth unemployment is high. What prospective is there for the young who even if they find work, can't afford the 20% deposit on property that has increased dramatically in price the past 15 years. So the young want freedom from corruption and a chance to earn a reasonable living. They see closer integration with Europe as the only way that Ukraine can be purged of the corrupt politicians, judges, police, etc.

@Koom - How many Russian speakers have been killed in Lviv or Kiev by the fascists? Zero. Why have more than 5000 Crimean Tartars left Crimea and fled to Lviv and Kiev? Persecution. Why have the Ukrainian language schools in Crimea been closed? How many Russian speakers have fled to the East for sanctuary? None. The problem for the East now is that with the annexation of Crimea, the pro-Russian parties lost many voters. Putin shot himself in the foot. There will never be a pro-Russian government in Kiev now.

Faelan

Its not about Russian speakers, wow, you really believe Putin's propaganda? Half of Ukraine speaks both Russian and Ukrainian. Its about the freedom Ukrainians deserve but Russians have never recognized because they think everything is theirs. Kiev has been home for the Rus for a thousand years and they are civilized. Those that are not civilized fled to Moscow and live there still. Truth hurts huh Kleo!

wimroffel

"How many Russian speakers have fled to the East for sanctuary? None. "

See this article for one example: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/odessa...

Koom

The split is much more geographical than generational but calling it a generational divide makes for a good story in western / U.S. media . If you think that younger southern and eastern Ukrainians of Russian descent are fond of this bunch from western Ukraine and / or that they do not fear them, you need to think again .

Americans / westerners have no idea what's happening now, our media will not let you see it , they will not report on it . These western Ukrainians are savages .

A legitimate fair national election is virtually impossible now , it will be a farce .

Itsnot1950anymore

And the young people want the opportunity to work in Europe, would like to see Ukraine join the EU so they can go to European universities for free. This should not be a surprise. It's not so much politics but what they see as economic/educational opportunity--which is why the Maidan at first--it was because the youth saw their dreams as being bound up in EU membership and then it was to be snatched away.

freddie11

But that's just it, EU membership for Ukraine is not just around the corner, if at all, it's at least 10 years down the road or more. Yes, the IMF loans part is up front, but the visa part, the part that allows immigration to anywhere in Europe, no way. That's what all the other Europeans have been telling the Ukrainians, you're selling your souls to the EU and the IMF for nothing, because you're not getting any of the benefits. Just watch.

Kleonid, 5/25/2014 2:23 AM EST

Many young people of Ukraine prefer to work and study in Russia, because they cannot afford did it in Europe (somebody do not have money, somebody do not have knowledge of languages).

So now many of them doing choice between to be a laborer in Europe or to be a specialist in Russia, and very many especially Russian-speaking prefer choice Russia.

optionrider, 5/25/2014 2:50 AM EST [Edited]

Not quite. Those young Ukrainians I see in Canada and EU countries are fluent in Ukrainian, Russian, most from western Ukraine in Polish and English as well as German.

If they are allowed study in the EU they'll automatically be granted temporary work permits and the best of them scholarships. They'll become future business and political leaders as it's now demonstrated by Ukrainian and Canadian-trained Ukraine's Foreign Minister Deschitsya and PM Yatsenyuk. BTW, only one or two Russian universities have their credentials recognised outside the Russian Federation and its satellites.

Kleonid

You doing judge on examples, you do not do it on statistics. It is your mistake.
Most of Ukrainians do not have money for move to EU or Canada or USA, those who have already study and work in Europe. Also language many of Ukrainians know Russian as native that mean they do not need spend time on study new language and they will understand more education stuff.

About Yatsenyuk. If you will see what he did with country then I very doubt in West education system.

Russians universities not recognized outside RF but it do not interfere people work in Russia or Ukraine with the education (for example me), most of Russians or Ukrainians do not want leave our countries, so the foreign recognition is not very important for us.

VolkDC

"The starkest gap may be less geographical than generational." Not really. A generational gap does exist, but it's not as large as the geographical gap. The coastal lands that Russia gifted to Ukraine in the 1920s remain culturally more Russian than Ukrainian.

The nationalists in Kiev are striving to stamp out this cultural diversity. The are abetted by business leaders who expect higher profits from trade with Europe than from trade with Russia.

Millions of Russian-Ukrainians don't want to give up their cultural heritage, have little to gain from the austerity measures that Europe is imposing on Ukraine, and don't want to support sham elections engineered by a coup government. Their uprising makes sense.

HuckFinn

Sham elections? International monitors will decide whether the elections are valid.

Kleonid

They did it as they did it to Russia in 1996, they just say what profitable for them.

[May 31, 2014] Like in Spain brigades of anti-fascists will be created to fight junta by Maxim Shevchenko

chelovek-online.ru

the first Poroshenko's statement following the announcement of the election results, the so-called elections, it was the statement about the necessity to finish the anti-terrorist operation ASAP. That is actually informal order about enlargement and its intensification of this criminal action. That's why we got helicopters firing missile at the airport in Donetsk, killing wounded in the track that tried to evacuate them from the fighting, the shelling of Slavyansk residential areas, the deaths of civilians. In fact all of those represent war crimes committed by Kyiv authorities. Their power is the power of the oligarchs, and the base of their power is the oligarchic state bureaucracy. That's why we have all this chauvinism and brainwashing , which now became embedded in the consciousness of drugged by propaganda Ukranian people. History repeats.

- And what the the future prospects of these actions?

A defeat for the Kyiv authorities, hopefully a military defeat. I think the ranks of the rebels will grow, and Interbrigades will be created, to which anti-fascists from all over the world will flock; from the whole world bot only from the territory of the former Soviet Union. This is much like it was during years of the Spanish Civil war, I think, the situation is similar and and people will form groups to fight against fascism, against the liberal fascism, which now began to reign in Kiev and supported by Western countries, obviously, follow the same ideology and the same practice.

You know, there are more and more often about the fact, that people from the Caucasus regions go to Donetsk on their own initiative. What is your attitude to these things, to the fact that people are not indifferent?

- Well, not only from the Caucasian...Many Ukrainians, Russians, people of different nationalities from the former Soviet Union, prepared to fight with the evil, which manifests itself Kiev junta till the bitter end. We thought that junta will behave reasonably. Intelligent behavior - and this was clear from the beginning clear - it is the cessation of military operations, this political negotiations with representatives of East and South-East, so to say, separation and subsequent disbanding of paramilitary of both warring parts of Ukraine, the combatants.

But they adopted the strategy "let's kill then all. This is disastrous path. Raw power could not solve this problem. This task could not solved by the Americans in Vietnam, having a monstrous military superiority.. This task cannot solve and by Kiev junta today with the support of the same Americans. War will just change to the total war, and the result will be the liberation of Ukraine from, well, let's say you create on the territory of Ukraine of the national democratic state, not only in Novorossia, but believe me, and other regions of Ukraine too.

- What part in this war will take Russia?

- I think the role of Russia is first of all the tragic role of accommodation of refuges who flee from Ukraine.

[May 30, 2014] UN's Ivan Simonovic Fears Ukraine Heading for Bloody Balkans-Style War

As gunfire continues in eastern Ukraine, United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic has delivered a gloomy assessment of the region's future.

Simonovic, who was born in Croatia, says the Ukraine is reaching "the point of no return" and could even spiral into the sort of ethnic bloodshed witnessed in the Balkans in the 1990s following the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

Speaking to the BBC, Simonovic said around 250 people have already died in the fighting between those loyal to Kiev and pro-Russian factions wishing to break away and form their own autonomous republics.

"In former Yugoslavia it took over 100,000 victims to reach political settlement. Can't we reach political settlement in Ukraine without such a heavy toll?"

Ivan Simonovic

"What I am really afraid is that the country is reaching the point of no return, if there is no adequate and urgent action taken. We already estimate that some 250 people have died - in the eastern part of the country, but recently we had a terrible disaster, a terrible tragedy that has taken place in Odessa, which was the largest incident with 48 people killed, with a lot of question marks, with police not reacting promptly or decisively. This requires thorough impartial investigation."

[May 30, 2014] Ukraine: general reportedly among dead as rebels down helicopter

The Guardian
Ivan Borisov, 29 May 2014 9:38pm

Recommend: 108

Good article, Alec. Just this nitpick:

Mark Galeotti, an expert in Russian security services, at New York University, who studies the Russian security services, wrote on his blog this week that the appearance of the Vostok battalion, which has its roots in a Chechen unit that fought in the 2008 Georgia war, was a move by Moscow to "reverse the slide towards warlordism" in eastern Ukraine and exert more control over the uprising it has encouraged.

That's just complete BS. The Vostok battalion from Chechnya was disbanded as far as 2008. This Vostok is another formation having nothing to do with the Chechen one. It's only the name, Vostok, which is translated from Russian as 'East'

Local sci-fi writer, a trustworthy source, says absolute majority of Vostok is locals.

And, back to the events of 26 May... here is a little video showing some of the crimes committed by Ukrainian NaziGuard:

Beware, Graphic footage.

Vaska Tumir -> Ivan Borisov, 29 May 2014 9:57pm

Recommend: 68

Yes, I noticed that, too. The implication is that the RF may be covertly sending special forces to Donbas -- something we've heard said before and never with any evidence to support it.

The Donbas Vostok is a local, Donbas paramilitary group with no ties to the Vostok spetznaz battalion that consisted of mainly Chechen special forces and was disbanded after the end of the Chechen wars. It probably has a good number of former Berkut officers in it as some 5,000 of them withdrew in protest from Kiev to Crimea and the SouthEast when the junta accused them of perpetrating the Maidan Massacre.

evolution2now, 29 May 2014 9:55pm

Recommend : 69

Ukraine is already broke. Ruling by force is very expensive. What's the end game for Kiev here?

Vaska Tumir -> evolution2now, 29 May 2014 10:00pm

Try to involve NATO? [As it itself doesn't seem capable of "pacifying" the SouthEast?] As a prelude to joining NATO once the bombing and the "pacification" are over?

OR they have no end game and, instead of defusing the tensions and reaching out to Donbas about local autonomy and federalization, they're indulging in macho spitefulness and making disorganized, impulsive moves all over the place.

Anglessos, 29 May 2014 11:17pm +42

Meanwhile the nazi are keen to continue the slaughter of the Eastern ukrainians :
Right Sector leader threatens guerrilla war in eastern Ukraine, Crimea.

Ukraine's Right Sector ultra-right movement is forming a special battalion, Donbass-2, tasked with waging a large-scale guerilla war in eastern Ukraine and Crimea, Right Sector leader and Ukrainian presidential candidate Dmitry Yarosh said in a pre-election TV debate on Sunday.

Yarosh, for whom an arrest warrant was issued in Russia in absentia for crimes committed in Chechnya, vowed to return Crimea, now part of Russia, to Ukraine, hoping to achieve that through unleashing a guerilla war on the peninsula and through provocations using Crimean Tatars.

Read also: Fascists burning people alive in Odessa, Nazism on the rise in Europe

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_05_19/Ukraines-Right-Sector-leader-threatens-guerrilla-war-in-eastern-Ukraine-Crimea-2872/

Doug Salzmann -> Anglessos, 29 May 2014 11:25pm

Operating guerrilla forces in the opponents' home territory -- that's likely to work out well.

More madness from the killer clowns of Kiev.

irgun777, 29 May 2014 11:23pm

" One man outside the Donetsk morgue said: "If the Ukrainian military's aggression continues many people will join the rebellion. "

This is a serious message from 8 million ethnic group living
on a territory 2-3 times the size of Belgium, with no lack of weapons, training or ethnic supporters back up.

Punitive operations can not patch the country together and if continue will make any political solution for federalization Impossible.

Vaska Tumir -> irgun777, 29 May 2014 11:25pm

I can't understand why Kiev wants to turn Ukraine into another Syria....

And, even more difficult to understand is why Ukrainians are letting this fascist junta-setup do so.

Caroline Louise, 29 May 2014 11:31pm

Recommend: 54

Why are the deaths of these people worth a headline but the civilians who died in the shelling of their apartment block by the Kiev forces don't get more than a passing ref?

It's morally outrageous of course, but beyond that there is the greater worry. - What is the plan? As we've said before (the smart ones anyway) this relentless propaganda and vilification of "the baddies" is the standard way of softening up a population for war. If this is truly the agenda this time - either through intent, stupidity or inertia, we all need to worry, and stopping this slide has to be the most important thing for any of us.

Unfortunately there are many who are too stupid to see beyond their own tiny prejudices or grievances. They need to realise the current demonising of Russia, and the obvious attempts to justify more aggression, should be of concern to everyone, even Russophobes, not because Russia is great, but because if this goes far enough war will become unavoidable. And none of us will survive that.

Robobenito, 29 May 2014 11:43pm

Recommend: 58

"Pro-Russia, pro-Russia, pro-Russia".

Dear "pro-American" Guardian "journalists", please stop using this ridiculous term (pro-Russia). That horse left the barn months ago. Your readers are not as stupid as you wish we were, and you make yourself look like paid hacks every time you trot out these propaganda terms. Please start providing writing and coverage that is worthy of your readership. The Guardian is supposed to be a news service, not a propaganda ministry. Please start acting like it.

midnightschild10, 29 May 2014 11:45pm

Recommend: 39

Wow! Kerry is shocked over the Volstok Battalion joining the Eastern Ukrainians Just because he and Obama are kow-towing to Queen Nuland of Ukraine doesn't mean others will. Also the so called experts are all in the US, not in Russia or Eastern Ukraine. Kerry even called for Snowden to "man-up" while Nuland and Lady Ashton won't let Kerry sit at the grown - ups table. Nuland was wrong about WMDs, mushroom clouds, and smoking guns when she worked with Cheyney's shadow government. She just assumed the US could buy all of the country for the 5 billion the US had already spent on Ukraine. Never considered that Eastern Ukrainians would have the guts to not accept her hand picked friends. Why does the US continue to destabilize countries and are shocked when things do not turn out well. Eastern Ukrainians asked for help and now others are answering that call. As Obama said "it's easy to start a war but not to end one." The term "terrorists" now refers to anyone who disagrees with those in government. Unfortunately the war mongers will be safe in their armchairs while the Ukrainians will pay the price in blood.

Clementt, 29 May 2014 11:45pm

Recommend: 35

Comments similar to those of Lev Havryliv, echoing the common misconception that "having annexed Crimea, Putin is making a grab for east Ukraine" cannot go unchallenged.

Crimea was crucial for Russian security. NATO's encirclement of Russia and the US's determination to grab its Naval Base left Putin with no choice.

Furthermore, the people of Crimea exercised their rights under UN Human Rights Article 21 subsection (3):
"The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures."

Arguments regarding the annexation of Crimea quoting international law need to take account of fluidity, where the will of the people demand change. Laws are made for people, people make the laws.

In my opinion, the assumption that Putin wants East Ukraine is MSM nonsense. Why would he want the hassle? I suggest he would be happy to let the US and EU sort out Ukraine's problems.

If, however, Kiev escalates it's offensive and it becomes obvious that East Ukrainian civilians are being killed solely because they are Pro-Russia, then Putin could be forced to act.

If the US were not running Ukraine, the UN would be screaming for action and drawing parallels to Syria.

Anglessos, 29 May 2014 11:46pm

Recommend: 41

'War is a plague': Donetsk students' pacifist song leaves TV anchor in tears on air (VIDEO)
A TV presenter was left in tears on air as students from a high school in Donetsk, Ukraine performed a song calling for peace in the region amid an intensified military offensive in the area.

http://rt.com/news/162148-tv-anchor-tears-donetsk/

and here are the Nazi Kiev children singing " One nation! One Country! One Fatherland! Hang the Muscovites! ( that is how they call the Russians):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyXToXTNDpc

Guess what these Kiev nazi will be coming to the EU shortly to sing some more...

TOR2000, 29 May 2014 11:56pm


Recommend

33

Daily press briefing at the U.S. Department of State, May 29:

QUESTION: So on Ukraine. Do you have any comment or concern about the situation in the east right now in the wake of this helicopter being downed? And there's photographs that appear to show innocent civilians, including children, lying dead in the streets. The other day you said that you didn't have any particular concerns about the Ukrainian authorities' use of force, but you did have concerns about the separatists and you were urging the Russians to rein them in. Do you now – do you have concerns about the Ukrainian authority – the use of force by the Ukrainian authorities, or is it still the – are you still the same – in the same spot you were?

MS. PSAKI: Nothing has changed. Our broad view, as you know, is that de-escalation is the proper path forward, but many challenges remain on the ground. There's no question about that. As you noted, today heavily armed separatists in Slovyansk shot down a military transport helicopter, killing 14 people. Four OSCE observers that were abducted on May 26 have –continue to be held. Separatists reportedly, including many from Russia, attempted to seize the airport in Donetsk on Monday. So there are obviously a range of recent events in isolated areas that we remain concerned about and challenges remain.

QUESTION: But you still believe that the Ukrainian authorities are acting within their – they're acting appropriately within their right to maintain order in these clashes that are going on in the east?

MS. PSAKI: We still believe Ukrainian authorities have the right uphold law and order in their own country, yes.

QUESTION: And you don't believe that they're using disproportionate force or attacking civilians?

MS. PSAKI: That is not a concern I'm aware of.

[May 29, 2014] Soros Admits Responsibility for Coup and Mass Murder in Ukraine

Alex Jones' Infowars

George Soros told CNN's Fareed Zakaria over the weekend he is responsible for establishing a foundation in Ukraine that ultimately contributed to the overthrow of the country's elected leader and the installation of a junta handpicked by the State Department.

"First on Ukraine, one of the things that many people recognized about you was that you during the revolutions of 1989 funded a lot of dissident activities, civil society groups in eastern Europe and Poland, the Czech Republic. Are you doing similar things in Ukraine?" Zakaria asked Soros.

"Well, I set up a foundation in Ukraine before Ukraine became independent of Russia. And the foundation has been functioning ever since and played an important part in events now," Soros responded.

It is well-known, although forbidden for the establishment media to mention, that Soros worked closely with USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy (now doing work formerly assigned to the CIA), the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the Freedom House, and the Albert Einstein Institute to initiate a series of color revolutions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia following the engineered collapse of the Soviet Union.

"Many of the participants in Kiev's 'EuroMaidan' demonstrations were members of Soros-funded NGOs and/or were trained by the same NGOs in the many workshops and conferences sponsored by Soros' International Renaissance Foundation (IRF), and his various Open Society institutes and foundations. The IRF, founded and funded by Soros, boasts that it has given 'more than any other donor organization' to 'democratic transformation' of Ukraine," writes William F. Jasper.

This transformation led to fascist ultra-nationalists controlling Ukraine's security services. In April it was announced Andriy Parubiy and other coup leaders were working with the FBI and CIA to defeat and murder separatists opposed to the junta government installed by Victoria Nuland and the State Department. Parubiy is the founder of the Socialist National party of Ukraine and currently the boss of the country's National Security and Defense Council.

Now that the billionaire "chocolate king" Petro Poroshenko is president of Ukraine, the effort to wipe out all opposition in eastern Ukraine will pick up steam. Poroshenko is a near perfect choice for the globalists and EU apparatchiks. He sat on the Council of the National Bank of Ukraine and collaborated with the IMF, Wall Street and the European Commission.

Poroshenko and the February coup leaders are now killing civilians in Donetsk as the effort continues to dislodge and eradicate "pro-Russian militants" and "terrorists," i.e., armed resistance fighters going up against Right Sector enforcers possibly accompanied by American mercenaries with the help of the CIA. Civilians are also victims in "rebel"-held Slovyansk and neighboring Kramatorsk as retaliation against resistance to the junta in Kyiv intensifies.

The military response with its overly fascist character, including the terrorist torching of a trade union building in Odessa by "pro-regime rioters" (i.e., Right Sector paramilitaries), can be directly attributed to the activism of George Soros and the hands-on approach of the U.S. State Department, various NGOs (which are, in fact, government and Wall Street fronts), and USAID, NED, and the malattributed "Freedom House," etc.

Following the murder and expulsion of those opposed to the IMF lording over the government and the people of Ukraine, Russia can expect further provocation, especially now that it has stepped away from supporting the resistance. The financial elite and their EU collaborators are determined to diminish and ultimately eliminate any challenge by Russia and the BRICS as these countries move to counter the neoliberal financial agenda.

"The buildup of NATO air and ground forces along the borders of Russia in eastern Europe and President Barack Obama's American power-influencing trip to Asia have a single purpose," Wayne Madsen wrote earlier this month. "The seen and unseen forces who dictate policy to their political puppets in Washington, London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, and other vassal capital cities have decided to smash BRICS – the emergent financial power bloc encompassing Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa."

[May 29, 2014] M of A - The U.S. Blinked Over Cuba ... And Blinks Over Ukraine

Austrian

These juvenile taunts are all part of the US strategy. From the very beginning they have been baiting Putin/Russia, hoping to draw Russia towards direct intervention in Ukraine so that the long-prepared "Putin is the new Hitler" campaign can be ramped up world-wide, and more of their overpriced war toys sold to terrified governments in Europe. I imagine many drawers full of such demonizing articles, caricatures and talking points are still waiting for the right moment to be deployed.

Russia being too smart to fall into the obvious trap (except for grabbing Crimea with blatantly bloodless efficiency), the narrative "Putin blinked" is just another ploy to put domestic pressure on Putin. Such details as the humiliating treatment of the Russian journalists, the absurd sanctions, etc., are all part of the ongoing and escalating provocation, to which Friedman now contributes his mite.

If Putin invades Eastern Ukraine, that is the start to the longed-for wider new war; but as long as he doesn't, he will be mocked and taunted relentlessly, in an attempt to shame and weaken him in the eyes of his supporters.

So while I agree that Friedman is stupid and contemptible, this particular piece of propaganda is not evidence of his stupidity; it ties in too well with neocon objectives.

TomV

Moon,

This is a great site. But you are mistaken:

"Thomas Friedman continues to be the most dimwitted foreign policy commentator in U.S. media."

He is not "dimwitted", he is doing his job, what he's paid for:
cultivate, perpetuate and instill the ideology of the dominate class on the masses - i.e. create public opinion consistent with the objectives of the oligopoly.

bevin

"So while I agree that Friedman is stupid and contemptible, this particular piece of propaganda is not evidence of his stupidity; it ties in too well with neocon objectives...."

It is the neocons who, in the last analysis are crude, unsophisticated and, yes, stupid.

This was the point that Anatoly Lieven made best: US foreign policy is dominated by empty heads without any strategic sense. As he put it: it sometimes looks as if US policy is carefully planned by a committee of very wise old men, with a long term plan, who meet in Beijing. Everything that the US has done, during the Ukrainian crisis, might as well have been calculated to serve China's interests.

China, historically, has always lived under the shadow of invasion from the west, Central Asia. With a firm, long term alliance with Russia this fear will disappear. The various "stans" formerly Soviet Republics, will be squeezed into the SCO and US bases squeezed out of them. The new Sino Russian alliance will stretch from the Ukrainian border to the Pacific. It will be the most secure and efficient trading route in Eurasia. It will be complemented by an Arctic sea route-the north east passage. Inevitably the EU will fall into this alliance's lap like a ripe plum.

The neo-cons are living in the past. They are still playing the British imperial sea power games. Look at what they are doing in Libya, with a 1000 marines hovering off shore waiting to help the latest coup there-which will inevitably lead, in months or years, to a neo-Ghadaffi restoration.

What has all the ruthlessness, the billions of dollars and the naked alliance with nazis gained the US in Ukraine?

Bad publicity, headaches for decades to come, a job for Joe Biden's feckless child and, on the other hand, unanimous nationalist revulsion in Russia, as well as the consolidation of Iran, Russia, the former Soviet states and China into an unbreakable alliance.

Bye bye, American Pie.

PuppetMaster

If Friedman thinks Putin blinked, that's a good news.

This Ukrainian crisis is, from the beginning, a reverse chicken game. The goal of the game is not to win, but to lose by letting the other win, going off the cliff.

For the US and the Kiev regime, though they say they want to keep the unity of Ukraine, they want the Russian invasion and/or partition of Ukraine. They want Russian to do the job for them and blamed for it.

For Russia, though they appears to want to invade and partition Ukraine, they really want to preserve the unity of Ukraine. Russia knows that unified Ukraine will never leave the Orbit of Russia.

If the US wants to claim a fake victory, let them have it. It means they lost. But, the problem is they had many fake victories already, and doesn't seem to be satisfied, yet. How many fake victories they want?

b

Stephen Walt also believes that Putin is the winner here
Given these realities, did it make any sense whatsoever to keep expanding missile defenses in Eastern Europe, to take advantage of Russian cooperation in the Security Council to do "regime change" in Libya, and then to back an ill-conceived effort to pull Ukraine into an economic and strategic partnership with the West? The answer is no, because Russia cares a lot more about Ukraine's fate than we do -- with good reason -- and Putin had many ways to thwart our efforts (as indeed he has). And make no mistake, he's been the big winner here: Crimea is now part of Russia, NATO membership for Ukraine is off the table for good, and Ukraine's new president clearly understands that good relations with Moscow are essential, just as Putin wanted.

PuppetMaster

I think Putin hasn't won yet. As long as the unity of Ukraine is preserved, he will win eventually. However, everything will be lost quickly once civil war intensifies and the partition of Ukraine sets in.

What Christopher Hill, a former ambassador to Poland, said at the beginning of this crisis is still valid.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1403/01/cnr.09.html

If Russia dismembers Ukraine and grabs the eastern part, they are pretty much assured that the western part will (INAUDIBLE) gallop westward. So I'm not sure that is in Russia's interests. So they may be trying to simply put a heck of a lot of pressure on Kiev to come up with a government that kind of respects sort of Russian interests in this. As they, you know, look to cut the deals with the European Union and other things.

The US and Europe haven't offered that negotiation yet. They only offered hostile rhetoric, more sanctions, and unconditional support for the Kiev regime's terror campaign against the Russian speaking population.

Everything depend on whether the unity of Ukraine will be preserved, and it's not decided, yet.

I think the conclusion from the Nicolai N. Petro article, 'b' linked before, is the key to the solution.

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/six-mistakes-the-west-has-made-continues-make-ukraine-10397?page=show

If Russia's actions are not the root cause of Ukraine's problem, then chastising it cannot possibly resolve the current crisis. In fact, it compounds the crisis in three ways...by reinforcing the notion, popular among some in the interim government in Kiev, that Western backing means there is no need to negotiate with the discontented eastern regions
...
The next is to apply meaningful pressure on the interim government to do what it has thus far refused to do-establish a government of national unity.

Since any move toward a true government of national unity will have to be taken against the wishes of one of the interim government's core constituencies, it will require political cover, and this can only be provided by its major supporters-the United States and the EU.

scalawag

Glazyev: Poroshenko ordered to 29-30 of may to end punitive operation at any cost
"Petro Poroshenko, who after counting 99,05% of protocols on extraordinary elections of the President of Ukraine is gaining 54.7% of the votes, should stop punitive " operations in the East of the country, to break the circle of lawlessness", said RIA Novosti Advisor to the President of Russia Sergey Glazyev.

According to Glaziev, Poroshenko is trapped "three legitimnosti": illegitimate junta, which brought him to power, illegitimate elections, in which it is declared by the President, and illegitimate use of the army against the people", and to be recognized, "he needs to break this cycle of lawlessness which is happening today in Ukraine".

"The only thing that Poroshenko can do to break this vicious circle of lawlessness in Ukraine, is to halt the use of the armed forces and the punitive operation against the most urbanized region of Ukraine," said the adviser of the President.

He also stressed that Poroshenko can easily do and there is no doubt that the army in this case will return to the barracks.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Poroshenko is now showing just the opposite intention. He called on the military to an escalation of violence. According to the data that we receive, Poroshenko ordered on may 29-30, to complete the operation at any cost, including the use of aircraft, bombers, heavy artillery against the cities and citizens of Donbass", - added Glaziev.

At the same time, he believes that if Poroshenko will become a direct participant in the crime, "there is no doubt that he and other criminals against humanity and the people of Ukraine, waiting for the Tribunal".

JSorrentine

As Mike Whitney - a person I've lambasted before but who seems to be seeing the true gravity of the situation as of late - correctly writes, the "failure" of Iraq has recently/finally - after 11 years - become the cash cow that the US/Western PTB - read: oil companies in this case - wanted it to be THE ENTIRE TIME and people here think that after just getting started in Libya, Syria and Ukraine that this shit is OVER? That the US is down for defeat?

Sure, the US as a WHOLE may suffer but if people retardly think that US PTB don't have the American peons subjugated/brainwashed to such an extant that this shit can't continue on for AT LEAST another 20 years - and until the fruits of their "investments" in chaos pay off - they're effing stupid/brainwashed themselves.

There is NOTHING on the US PTB landscape/horizon that threatens their position right now. NOT AN EFFING THING.

What is so hard that people CANNOT understand this fact. Report after report after study after study shows that the US is NO LONGER A DEMOCRACY!!! HELLO?!! BUELLER?!!! Anyone care to take the time to understand what that fucking means? I mean really understand what that fucking means?

It means that these war criminals are not GOING ANYWHERE ANYTIME SOON. That's what it means. Jesus Christ, every one seems to read those reports/studies of the US being a non-democratic/war criminal/rogue state yet they STILL think they're dealing with a nation that can right itself, a nation where the populace has the means by which the can actually change things. All the Americans on Facebook and Youtube I see are sooo cute and friendly, though, right? Stupid.

There is ZERO ZILCH NADA ZIP means by which anything is going to change politically in the US. Zero. Especially as the election laws are even more egregiously rewritten to further entrench the elite war criminal class.

So what if they suffer "setbacks", the US elite have ALL THE TIME AND COMPLIANT CANNON FODDER that they could possible hope for near, middle and long term to wait it out and turn events their way once again.

What, people DON'T think these crazy MFers wouldn't nuke the fucking planet before giving up the reins of power?

Really? And why not? Please point me to the data of the US war criminal elite abiding by ANY SENSE of decency/humanity/morality over the last 4 decades. Really, I'd love to see the evidence that supports contentions that the US war criminal elite are worried about moral hangups vis a vis the maintenance of their stations because I really don't see it at all.

The neocons = the neoliberals = every single elected official/Establishment member in the US. This is a fact. I mean, if NO ONE in the US Establishment can even call out/prosecute/mention the commission of MILLIONS of obvious fucking war crimes why do people persist in trying to divide the homogeneity?

These war criminals are not stupid or fucking incompetent but as Lysander - I think - said it best earlier: they are contemplating/putting into action plans that are - to sane/grounded/moral people - unthinkable but which to themselves are necessary and mandatory. They are brilliantly insane and there is NO ONE stating otherwise here. It's much easier to comprehend ineptitude and oversight.

There is, thus, ZERO reason for any of us to think that the worst is behind us, that the US war crimes are going to ebb, that the needless slaughters will subside because if anything they will only increase if the US PTB do actually begin to feel threatened.

Why the incessant need on the part of some people to exhort people to NOT err on the side of caution especially as this letting our defenses fall has given us Obama, Libya, Syria and now Ukraine as additions to the war crimes list that goes on for decades?

A serial killer can no longer kill until he is dead. Until that time - but ESPECIALLY when he/she hasn't even been apprehended - there is no time for congratulations and pats on the butt for jobs "well done".

I can think of hundreds of scenarios by which the US could continue on its current trajectory - e.g., we haven't had a nice epidemic for a while, have we? knock on wood! - but I can't see one that points to the US slowing down or stopping. Look to how little the US PTB care for their own citizens and then you'll see that there is not a moral hangup standing in their way.

Hmmm, save the city of Detroit for >$2 billion or spend $5 billion on needlessly causing more murder and mayhem in Ukraine?

These and other no-brainers are what should give the people of the world pause before proclaiming the premature end of the American empire.

PuppetMaster | May 28, 2014 8:18:29 PM | 77

Posted by: Demian | May 28, 2014 7:44:10 PM | 67

Ah that one by That Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press piece! It now needs to be supplemented by an Amitai Etzioni piece.

http://yalejournal.org/2013/06/12/who-authorized-preparations-for-war-with-china

Yale Journal of International Affairs, June 12, 2013
Who Authorized Preparations for War with China?
By Amitai Etzioni

Joshua Rovner of the U.S. Naval War College notes that deep inland strikes could be mistakenly perceived by the Chinese as preemptive at­tempts to take out its nuclear weapons, thus cornering them into "a terrible use-it-or-lose-it dilemma." That is, ASB is prone to lead to nuclear war.

The imagined result of ASB is the ability to end a conflict with China in much the same way the United States ended WWII: The U.S. military defeats China and dictates the surrender terms.

ASB requires that the United States be able to take the war to the mainland with the goal of defeating China, which quite likely would require striking first. Such a strategy is nothing short of a hegemonic intervention.

The ASB(Air Sea Battle) is another brainchild of Andrew Marshal who gave us missile defense, drone warfare and RMA(Revolution in Military Affairs).

VietnamVet

Demian@63

The military knows the conditions of its troops and the U.S. volunteer army is way too small to fight a conventional war with the Russian Federation. Still, units of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, which I served a year with in Vietnam, have already been moved to Poland and the Baltic States to serve as tripwires. There are reports that there will be NATO military exercises held in Ukraine this summer. There is no way, if Russia invades Eastern Ukraine, that the Brigade wouldn't be moved into Western Ukraine to stop Russia from invading even farther.

The movie "They Were Expendable" comes to mind. "Restrepo" is a good documentary showing the counter insurgency war the Brigade fought in Afghanistan. But, in no way are they able by themselves to halt an Army of Battle Tanks; maybe, if NATO won air superiority, or the tanks stopped before the tripwire. If not, tactical nuclear weapons would be used by the side in danger of being overrun. WWIII would then escalate to a strategic nuclear exchange.

We are sitting on the sidelines watching two nuclear powers play a game of chicken. Granted, the Russia Federation is being dragged into this very very reluctantly. Until now no nuclear nation has got into a shooting war with another nuclear power because there is no way it would not escalate to a nuclear war.

The crazies who brought us Austerity and Privatization along with Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Uganda and Syria want to give it a try in order to destabilize Russia and loot it again.

Copeland, May 28, 2014 11:13:52 PM

Probably something of an analysis should be made of the trajectory of this oddball breed of billionaire, that is to say, the Chocolate Gore Factory's proprietor, the newly minted Ukrainian president, Poroshenko.

We arrive at the grim limits of our degenerate civilization, in a condition which is personified by the billionaire president. Here is something new, an entity that has heretofore shrunk from the light. Those who have, in former times. produced the global snuff film, (and watched the credits roll, at exclusive private screenings), now make so bold as to front and represent, and issue executive commands as heads of state. for cities to be put under siege, for populations to be bombed and shelled.

Billionaire hands are seen orchestrating the burning alive of protesters, as well as the strangling and torturing to death of those who survived the flames. Poroshenko must feel awfully lucky, bulletproof, and invulnerable, to tempt the Russians; for after all, who is to say that they won't hang him, after they bag him, and try him for his crimes against the Ukrainian people. Provided that he follows through with his recent threats.

Does Poroshenko personify the cast (or caste) of leaders to come, in the terminal phase of the empire? Is he in the mold of Galtian Superman, trampling out the vintage, projecting the longest, most lunatic death wish of them all?--the spark into a tinderbox?

Demian

@ToivoS #82:

Thanks for that; I had no idea. I never took Etzioni seriously either, including his "socio-economics", so it's nice to know that my instinct was correct.

@Fete #83:

Yes, it is a very sad situation. Russia is approaching this geopolitically, so it calculates how much blood needs to be spilled to justify an intervention.

Also, as the Saker has pointed out more than once, just about any military intervention is going to take innocent lives (a fact that anglo interventionists studiously ignore), so you have to weigh how many lives are likely to be lost if you intervene compared to if you do nothing. Crimea was an easy, special case.

scalawag

Jen Psaki - symbol of Obama's administration and its weak foreign policy

"Jennifer Psaki has already become a symbol of Obama's cabinet weak foreign policy. Thus, unsurprisingly, some bloggers compare her dialogs with an AP writer Matthew Lee to live performances on Jon Stewart's satirical show.

Indeed, Jen Psaki's ludicrous notions regarding Victoria Nuland's bad habit of using foul language, or the mysterious 'carousel voting' in eastern Ukraine, or her embarrassing 'selfie' with #UnitedForUkraine hashtag, put into question the State Department spokesperson's professional competency and political sanity as well as of those who hired her.

These examples are just a few in a string of the spokesperson's failures. She faces heavy criticism particularly from her Republican compatriots who accuse her of incompetence and immaturity, saying that she is 'disconnected from reality'. Although it is not just Jen Psaki's fault that the US influence abroad continues to wane, it goes without saying that the incompetence of the US State Department politicians influences negatively the international image of Washington.

She reminds me of that repulsive Israeli PR marketer Mark Regev.

[May 29, 2014] Poroshenko in Wikileaks

echo.msk.ru

...Poroshenko is not a new person for the US administration. In the dispatches WikiLeaks about him exactly 100 references, and some of the characteristics given to him by us diplomats are not flattering nature. Much of the negative characteristics necessary for 2006-2009.

So, in a dispatch dated 16 February 2006, the U.S. Ambassador to Kiev, John Herbst calls Petro Poroshenko an oligarch who dishonored himself".

In June, the new head of the U.S. Embassy William Taylor describes it as, quote: "extremely unpopular politician, who enjoy broad support of party leaders because of their previous entrepreneurial and organizational performance", end of quote.

A month later, William Taylor writes that "Our Ukraine" could in the elections to nominate promising young talent, but instead followed the advice of a discredited oligarch, who became the personification of all the weaknesses of the party".

From other telegrams American diplomats should that Poroshenko, being the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, tried to prevent closer ties with Moscow.

Meanwhile, the press Secretary Poroshenko Irina Frieze on the issue of "Kommersant" about what he thinks about the characteristics in his address in the dispatches of the state Department, said, "He never read them".

[May 29, 2014] Ukraine's Foreign Ministry turns down humanitarian aid to eastern regions from Russia

itar-tass.com

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Moscow should better "focus on satisfaction of numerous requests for humanitarian aid from the residents of the Republic of Crimea"

KIEV, May 29. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry has turned down an official note of the Russian Foreign Ministry asking for permission to provide humanitarian aid to residents of Ukraine's eastern regions.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Moscow should better "focus on satisfaction of numerous requests for humanitarian aid from the residents of the Republic of Crimea".

Kiev dubbed Russia's aspiration to help civilians suffering from the military operation in the country's east as "another element of propaganda".

"On May 28, the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation sent a note to the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine, attracting attention of the Ukrainian authorities to the fact that Russia has been repeatedly receiving requests from citizens and organizations from the conflict zone in Ukraine's eastern regions where many people are killed and many are wounded in combat operations," the Russian ministry said. "(Russia) has been requested to provide urgent humanitarian aid, first and foremost of medication and medical goods."

"Russia is ready to provide the population in those regions with everything needed, and asked Ukraine to take necessary steps for ensuring urgent deliveries of Russian humanitarian aid to conflict-hit regions in the shortest term possible," the Russian note underscored.

[May 29, 2014] Seven children suffer gunshot, fragment injuries in Donetsk region in May

Seven children aged between four and 17 have been injured as a result of the hostilities in the Donetsk region over the past 20 days, according to the regional state administration.

[May 29, 2014] What Are Eastern Ukraine's (Legitimate) Grievances With Kyiv

It's clear who paid the money for the article, still some bit of information might be intereting...
rferl.org

What are the main grievances?

There are plenty of people in eastern Ukraine who are angry with Kyiv, but whose anger stops short of wanting to secede. According to a May poll by the Pew Research Center in Ukraine, 70 percent of eastern Ukrainians want to keep the country intact, including 58 percent of Russian speakers.

However, this majority -- which has largely remained silent in the face of the separatist violence -- is far from happy with the status quo. Many want a new power-sharing arrangement with Kyiv to give local people a greater say in managing their own affairs, analysts say.

Ukraine specialist Orisya Lutsevych of London-based Chatham House says people in the east are fed up with the highly centralized nature of the state, where all local tax revenue goes to Kyiv before any is channeled back home.

"These grievances in Donbas are very similar to the ones across Ukraine at large," Lutsevych says. "People are suffering from mismanagement, corruption, and lack of economic opportunities."

... Russian-leaning eastern Ukrainians do feel left out by the recent Euromaidan revolution in Kyiv, which was heavily supported by European-leaning western Ukraine.

...Another issue Poroshenko will likely have to address is eastern Ukraine's belief it is carrying more than its fair share of the weight in supporting the rest of the country economically.

...the perceived threat to the Russian language has been a major rallying point for pro-Russians pushing a separatist agenda.

[May 29, 2014] Ferocious clashes in Ukraine increase risk for Putin

I don't think the author understand that if Russia just cut the gas for non-payment it would be a mortal blow to Poroshenko and whole Kiev junta and far less costly then occupation of Ukraine.
The Japan Times

It seems inconceivable that he did not see the Ukrainian military's assault coming once Sunday's election was over.

"I don't think it came as a surprise," said political analyst Boris Makarenko. "It was clear the election campaign had served as a restraint on the army's actions in Ukraine."

What was less expected, and may have caught the Kremlin off guard, was the intensity of the clashes. Reporters saw dozens of corpses after a battle over Donetsk International Airport in east Ukraine, in which Kiev sent in jets and helicopter gunships.

To a limited extent, the crushing of the rebellion in east Ukraine would play into Putin's hands.

He seems to have settled for the annexation of Crimea, instability in Ukraine to undermine its rulers and a boost in popularity at home as ample reward from the crisis. Ukraine has also backed off trying to join NATO, a red line for Putin.

The rebels have become a threat to the status quo, and a potential irritant for Putin, because their unpredictable actions increase the risk of events getting out of control.

They also ignored a call he made to postpone a referendum on self-rule this month, though it is not clear whether he really meant them to act on his words or simply intended his comments to make the West think he was making a compromise.

Putin has yet to comment in public on the election outcome or say how he will react to the surge in violence, but he was quoted by the Kremlin as telling Italy's prime minister that Kiev's military operation must end immediately.

That response was yet another shift in Putin's tone after the relative softening of recent days, raising the prospect of a new standoff with Kiev even before newly elected billionaire businessman Petro Poroshenko is sworn in as president.

It is clear that Russia decided before the election that Poroshenko was the "least bad" candidate. Putin had unexpectedly described the ballot as likely to be a "step in the right direction" and signaled he would work with the next president.

But the Ukrainian government appears to have interpreted Poroshenko's big election win as a mandate for decisive action, and it has toughened its stance in negotiations with Russia over its $3.5 billion debt for gas supplies.

Country risk analysts IHS said Poroshenko was "taking a hard line towards the separatist movements in the east in order to secure his public legitimacy and build on the firm majority he received in the 25 May elections.

"Russia does not look like it is inclined to intervene at this point," it added.

[May 28, 2014] "I just feel sorry for people"

Vzglyad

The number of refugees from Ukraine to Russia is growing rapidly

One hundred and forty thousand people - as many, according to the FMS, is the number of Ukrainian refugees from Ukraine to Russia for the last time. Their number is rapidly growing with increase of the intensity of the fighting in the South-East of the country. Ordinary Russian citizens wish to host families, not withstanding the bombing of Donetsk and assault Slavyansk.

[May 28, 2014] Ukrainian president-elect wants direct U.S. military aid by Jackson Diehl

The Washington Post

Petro Poroshenko, the newly elected president of Ukraine, inherits a low-grade civil war against separatists backed by Russia, an economy rapidly descending into recession and a fragmented political system in which most power lies with a lame-duck, unrepresentative parliament. But as he sees it, he does have one thing going for him: For the moment, at least, a decisive majority of Ukrainians are behind him.

"This is the first presidential election when all the regions of Ukraine had the same winner," he told me Monday night, in his first interview since winning a clear majority in a crowded first-round ballot. "You can consider it a referendum. Ninety-six percent of Ukrainians voted for the unity of the country. Eighty-five percent supported a candidate for European integration. So the president has a unique chance to unite the country and has a level of support which he never had before."

Poroshenko may be overstating his case. In two eastern Ukrainian provinces that lean toward Russia, most people were unable to vote because of disruption by the separatist militias that Moscow backs. But he did defeat candidates representing pro-Russian parties across the Russian-speaking regions - he even won a majority among the 6,000 people from occupied Crimea who managed to vote.

... ... ...

What would help, Poroshenko says, is direct U.S. military aid. He brought up Franklin D. Roosevelt's Lend-Lease program during World War II, paraphrasing Roosevelt's argument as "when your neighbor's house is burning, you should lend him your hose."

"Now we should create a new security treaty exactly like Lend-Lease," he said. "We should cooperate in military technical assistance and in advising assistance. We are ready to fight for independence, and we should build up the armed forces of Ukraine."

Poroshenko has made it clear he is ready to negotiate with Russia. "I know Putin quite well," he said, adding that he is ready to compromise over everything but Ukraine's claim to Crimea and its decision to pursue economic association with the European Union. But Putin's bottom line is unclear. Even Stalin had a politburo, the president-elect privately complained to one adviser. Poroshenko sees Putin as opaque, improvisational and unpredictable.

Tricky negotiations also loom at home. Poroshenko must figure out how to manage Ukraine's infamous oligarchs - the billionaires who feed off state contracts and subsidies and who were a prime target of the mass demonstrations that brought down the previous, hugely corrupt government. Poroshenko is himself one of those oligarchs, though he has pledged to sell all but one of his businesses, a television network.

mangust, 5:42 PM EST [Edited]

It is rude to come to someone's home and teach how to live. But if you do like that do not then expect any appologies if you happen to be hit back.

Poroshenko is a cynical liar. Over 50 per cent of Ukrainians boycotted these elections. Before May, 26th he was just a non bona-fide tycoon, but from now on he will be treated as a military criminal, he will never wash blood of children and aged civillians off his hands. Nor will Turchinov, Avakov and Kolomoysky.

American people remember the one who told you that you are exceptional reincarnated nazism and the concepts of racial hygiene.

Rgds from Ukraine.

Rusian, 4:00 PM EST

What specifically military help he asks? We after all don't speak about the banana republic. We speak about the country which in 1996 was on the second place in the world on sales of arms. They have all kind of weapon and they make it more for sale. All types of arms. Aircrafts, air defense systems, tanks, artillery, ships and machine guns. And they do it not worse and sometimes better than Russians. Their warehouses are full of the weapon. Maybe they want hi-tech military system? What for? To use against separatists or to give to Russians during retreat? You already lost 6 Hammers in Georgia. And together with them all NATO enciphering. No. He ask people. Because the Ukrainian army doesn't want to be at war. ...

Certainlyso, 12:32 PM EST

Overt military aid by the U.S. would greatly complicate the diplomatic scene. If France, Germany or the U.K. provided military aid, it would not provoke Russia. If the U.S. did - Russia would feel provoked.

While I wish the new President of Ukraine well and hope the civil strife can be settled soon, it is a very precarious thing for the U.S. to get involved in propping him up. He is new to diplomacy so he may not see the danger here.

Doug MacNeece, 12:14 PM EST

It is worth remembering that it was Yanukovych's abandonment of the EU option - after which Putin offered a $15 bn bailout - that triggered the protests. By contrast with Putin's offer, the EU was pushing Ukraine to sign an association agreement offering loans for austerity, as part of a German-led drive to open up Ukraine to western companies.

Four months is a long time in Ukrainian politics but long enough for the Germans to step forward with a nice big bailout, perhaps in compensation for damage in World War 2 -

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/13/ukrai...

While contemplating that great beacon of hope, the EU, it is worth looking at how eastern Europeans stayed away from the polls in the EU elections: Turnout hit a record low in Slovakia where just 13% voted, in Poland, turnout slipped below 23%, in the Czech Republic it fells to 19.5%, while in Hungary is was 29% where a large number voted for ultra nationalist Jobbik, placed in the same category as Germany's National Democratic Party and Greece's Golden Dawn.

The real problem is trying to get the facts to conform with uncomfortable realities.

j1340, 10:01 AM EST

In this best of all possible worlds American military help and democratic principles would be nice for Ukraine, but reality must come into play: Ukraine is the cradle of Russian civilization; which makes its ties to Russia,for better or worse, elemental; their relationship after the revolution and during WWII was incredibly complicated and bloody ; both countries are unwilling to face their history--Stalin's collectivization of Ukrainian agriculture which lead to mass starvation and persecution, and Ukrainian nationalists who sided with the Nazis and were violently anti-Semitic. There are no easy answers.

Russia probably wants a neutral Ukraine as a buffer state against invasion.

[May 27, 2014] Ukraine: Anatol Lieven On The Larger Picture

The key question here is whether Galicia can enslave and control South-East Ukraine, severing all the connections to Russia. This is the scenario the West, especially the USA, were counting. In any case the damage to the county due to Western sponsored putsch will last several decades.
moonofalabama.org

A lecture (video) by and with Anatol Lieven, of King's College London held on May 14. As usual Lieven, who knows East Europe well, gives a sane realist perspective and accordingly damns the foolish "western" policies with regard to Ukraine and Russia. With about 100 minutes the talk and Q&A is quite long but worth your time.

Aside from Ukraine there is an important point Liven makes during the Q&A not with regard to Russia but to China. At 1:25h Lieven talks about false "security guarantees" given by the U.S. and UK, how no one is willing -in the end- to stick to such. This well known fact in general weakens such "guarantees".

With that in mind he expands to China (1:27:40):

I think the Americans have been profoundly foolish in that regard. It does weaken their credibility in alliances elsewhere. [...] If the United States extends to China the kind of attitudes and the kind of policies that it has to Russia over the past generation, then, ladies and gentlemen, we will find ourselves in another major international war which will bring the world economy down in ruins and with it, probably, many democracies around the world including our own. I hope that the fact that an American policy which did this would deserve the results it got will be a comfort to our descendants.

Such fear is not without reasoning. U.S. "security guarantees" already inflame the situation as the new Cold War Heats Up in Asia in the same moment that a devastating financial and cyber war with Russia is shaping up. Foolish U.S. policies on Ukraine have pushed Russia and China (and Iran) into an (informal) strategic alliance which is giving U.S. strategic planers more than a light headache. Can a seapower prevail against a strong, self sufficient landpower alliance?

As the Carnegie Moscow Center remarks:

Whether in the Euro-Atlantic or the Asia-Pacific, great-power relations are becoming more contentious, with a loose Eurasian coalition emerging to reduce the U.S. domination of global politics. This is nothing like the Sino-Soviet alliance of the 1950s, but the consolidation of Russia's pivot to Asia is an important result of the first phase of the Ukraine crisis, which will continue to reshape the global strategic landscape.

The U.S. has no other than Victoria Nuland, and Hillary Clinton who installed her as Deputy Secretary of State for Europe, to thank for this foolish mess.

Anonymous

failure and failure, look at this:
http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_05_26/Poroshenko-thinks-Yatsenyuk-to-remain-Ukraines-prime-minister-6883/

nuland scores again, unfortunately.

scalawag

"The U.S. has no other than Victoria Nuland, and Hillary Clinton who installed her as Deputy Secretary of State for Europe, to thank for this foolish mess."

That sounds like one of those obfuscating simplifications western media for "liberal intellectuals" (IE: college educated management class) engage in when things don't look so rosy for the western fascists.

Neither Nuland or Clinton decide the policies they front for, the people who place them in the positions they occupy decide these. At most, Nuland-Clinton get to manage those who work out how to implement the policies for western plutocracy.

Though I suspect in Clinton's case, she is more of a "name brand" telemarketing scheme than anything else.

Anonymous

Over 100 killed now!
http://rt.com/news/161592-donetsk-truck-grenade-killed/

EU, US got blood on their hands!

Colinjames

Scalawag makes a good point but I would posit there's a little bit more of a symbiosis between the plutocrat/oligarchs and the neocon think tank world, rather than Nuland and Clinton being just pure lap dogs. That said, I'm sure there is something of a higher power they answer too, basically.

But we can still thank them for their roles in this mess, that's for sure.

ProPeace
Onet.pl, one of the major polish portals, apparently "changed sides" a few weeks ago, becoming close to an objective source regarding Ukraine. Since then it's very hard to find pro-putschist propaganda, by hasbara, other paid agents or "useful idiots", that would be among the top comments, as it would be a month ago, usually with pro-Western vitriol. Recently the discussions are dominated by the pro-Russian commenters, something unthinkable only a few months ago.

Donietsk: Polish student supporting Russian separatists

As it turns out, in Poland there are people who support the activities of pro-Russian separatists in Crimea. Reporter Martin snatched Onet spoke in Donetsk with Bartosz Bekier, Polish student of political science, who wrote in the portal xportal.pl - We are trying to create a narrative absent in the Polish media. There is an asymmetry in the transmission on Ukraine, we are trying to distort - says Bekier. - We talk about the fact that the financing of the opposition is assisted by external centers. This whole conflict is largely a projection of foreign, western centers - explains. See Martin snatched material directly from Donetsk in crisis. (JSch)
BTW Poroshenko's first visit abroad is to be in Poland.
Knut
Scalawag @2

Pray tell how this string-pulling you speak of is supposed concretely to work? Is there a secret handshake that allows the true managers to communicate to their underlings, or are you simply speaking metaphorically?

What would constitute proof of the assertion that Hillary and Vicki are simply executing the orders of some unnamed and unknown others? It's no secret that there are powerful interests engaged in and by American foreign policy, but most of them are focused on the narrow band of decisions that directly affect their net worth.

I think the stupidity and destructiveness of American foreign policy has intellectual roots going back to the 1890s (1840s if you include the war against Mexico). American hegemony is in the American DNA. As many here have pointed out, it is embedded in the liberal American mindset, never questioned because it is no natural and seemingly self-evident. It is obvious enough that if this mindset were to produce actions contrary to important and nfluential business interests, there would be efforts to arrest them. But I don't think one can reduce the influence to a matter of control. We are dealing with policies that are supported by 85 to 90 percent of the American elite independently of their particular economic interest. The same was true of the German elite's support for German bellicosity in the years leading up to 1914 (1939 is not a test case because by that date Germany was a totalitarian dictatorship).

Posted by: Knut | May 27, 2014 8:17:05 AM |

bevin
"Neither Nuland or Clinton decide the policies they front for, the people who place them in the positions they occupy decide these."

And who are these people?

The idea that there is a disconnect between the ruling class and those who rule, is not very useful.

Of course Nuland is not the ruling class, merely the face and voice of it. Of course she did not invent ruling class policies any more than she did its interests. But she shapes and develops policies intended to promote those interests.

And that is, surely, the point that b is making: not that Clinton or Nuland (or Obama or Bill Kristol or McCain) determine policies arbitrarily but that they are often mistaken in the belief that the policies they promote serve the interests of the class of which they are part and which employs them.

Nor is this a picayune quibble because this propensity of the ruling class to employ deluded, incompetent and ignorant agents is a characteristic of a class in decline, a class losing its way, confused by the complexity of the situations in which it finds itself.

Is there "a higher power" as Colinjames @6 argues?

The answer is both yes and no. Yes, in the sense that the ruling class has real interests and an optimal course to pursue them. But No, in the sense, that there are no mysterious distant conclaves, all powerful figures or secret authorities capable of imposing their will.

There is the military and intelligence, the secret police and enormous latent power, but there is no evidence to believe either that they are wiser than their political fronts or regard themselves as being so.

What we are seeing in the USA is the fruits of a system of government which has ceased to serve its purpose. It is no longer 'democratic' enough to carry the masses, consensually, with it and it is, by the same token, dominated by oligarchies chosen not for their wisdom or popularity but on the basis of their ability to game the media and the impunity they enjoy by doing so.

There are no consequences for incompetence, there is no competition winnowing out the idiotic and deluded. Indeed the contrary is the case: the process at work is one in which the "least fit" survive. Hence the steady stream of foolish people (many of them, for obvious enough reasons, being women) who rise from obscurity to the highest offices in the State Department and White House.

Hence, the increasingly alarming folly of US policy, a folly particularly characterised by its reliance on brawn-raw military threats and CIA thuggery. Both of which are in evidence in Ukraine.

Anatol Lieven might "know" East Europe well but he's another idiot that doesn't know the difference between a "Republic" or a "Constitutional Monarchy" and a "Democracy".

Posted by: par4 | May 27, 2014 8:55:03 AM | 11

Anonymous

Not a nice picture but must be showed to the sick west that support the massacres:
https://scontent-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/t1.0-9/10338816_624313570998317_3387316277376805080_n.jpg

S Brennan

like scalawag,

I used to pardon Hillary as being a spineless SoS of Obama, but then I saw the video tape of the schoolgirl giggling over Gaddafi's being anally raped to death with a stake.

After that, it's pretty hard to see her as anything but what she is;

Hillary Clinton is one sick psycho.

Oui
Toria Nuland was more than a spokesperson for neocon policy under VP Cheney for two years from July 2003. As a career diplomat she was present in the Clinton administration and as CFR fellow member of a task force on "Russia, its Neighbors and an Expanding NATO." The think-tanks are important in setting US foreign policy, that's why there is little effective change from one administration to the next.

Posted by: Oui | May 27, 2014 10:46:08 AM | 16

Under VP Cheney Nuland was heavily involved in the first Orange Revolution in 2004, all leading players finished the job in 2014. Toria Nuland has grandfather's roots in a part of Ukraine called Bessarabia. He emigrated to the US in 1907 after several progroms against the Jewish community.

New Atlantic Initiative Founded by Neocons

William Bowles
Qaddaffi was sodomized with a foot-long hunting knife by his captors. The video preceded her chucklefest, of course she'd seen it. This particular apotheosis of brutality is but one of the things helping these monsters sleep at night. White man's burden and all. They need their snuff films.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 27, 2014 11:56:10 AM | 24

Surely, Nuland is part of the political class! She may or may not, contribute tactics or even strategy but so what?

Debates about the role individuals play in the construction of state policy are not very useful if they centre on one person no matter how 'evil' or psychotic they may be. As someone else here said, Nuland may not make policy (tho this is debatable given her central role in Dept of State and married to another certified sociopath).

Perhaps it's the fact that she's female that has produced these reactions? Had she been a man, I am sure she would have not been singled out so (not that I'm defending her!). But for a woman to succeed in a man's world she generally has to be a bigger (or 'better') bastard than her male counterparts.

scalawag

The west is pretty much run like a corporation, which is to be expected since it is a capitalist plutocracy, corporatocracy or polygarchy. This informative article list the more important players and shows some of the ways these are connected to each other.

Naming Names: Your Real Government

There are others, and other associations, so this is a partial list. The people listed can be considered in the top echelon of the western corporatocracy/plutocracy. The members of the board. They make the decisions about policies the west pursues. Below them is "upper" management. These are the people tasked to implement those policies. There is a grey area between these two upper layers with some people being effectively part of both. Call them junior oligarchs or supra management (perhaps Cheney being one example of this?). ;) People like Nuland are upper management. So is Kissinger, so are the Clintons. They work pretty much like management teams in corporations do, working out how to implement the policies.

This is what I meant by pointing out the Nulands and Clintons don't decide the policies, they implement the policies their "employers" have decided on. So in the case of the western attack on the Ukraine, Nuland is part of implementing the attack, but the attack was decided by the group listed in the article above. They picked Nuland and the others working this attack the way a corporate board of directors will select management teams to implement their various corporate policies. That Nuland's wasn't the only "management team", and that different teams don't always agree on how to implement policy, can be seen from her "F... the EU" comment. What those differences are open to speculation, but it's clear there is rivalry among those implementing policy.

Often, what the west intends for their attack victims can be guessed at by looking at who are chosen by the hierarchy to implement its policy decisions. The neocon types tend to wreck the countries attacked, and keep them destabilized. The choice of neocons to carry out the Ukraine attack, in my opinion, probably means the west is more interested in an Afghan/Iraq/Libya/Yugoslav scenario for the Ukraine, than they are one of the Baltics/Czech/Poland type.

Posted by: scalawag | May 27, 2014 12:42:18 PM | 31

Oui
@scalaweg

Too many names, the elites are more focused. Pushing forward to seal the next deal ...

Bilderberg and Transatlantic Trade: a Lobbying Scandal Waiting to Happen
TTIP: EU and US Prepare to Enhance Global Corporatocracy With Free Trade Deal

xxx
First Ukraine now color revolution in Abchazia?
http://en.itar-tass.com/world/733559

Posted by: Anonymous

VietnamVet

The Western Plutocrats simple will not tolerate the rise of a socialist enclave that threatens to nationalize businesses even if they are owned by Ukrainian Oligarchs. It takes a lot of time and winnowing before rookie conscripts become an army and right sector goons the SS. Before summer is over, NATO troops will be fighting in Ukraine. Russia has to intervene to protect its fellow Russians. If not, the Russian ultra-nationalists will seize power and drive NATO out of Eastern Ukraine.

By refusing to negotiate a Ukraine settlement now, the West is hell bent on starting World War III.

Demian
I think it's fair to say that Anatol Lieven is a whore, given that he said that Russian media "lies", without giving any examples. What else can one expect from a a senior fellow of the New America Foundation in Washington DC?

The main thing I got out of Lieven's talk, and he said this most clearly in an answer to a question, is that the EU has contracted out its Ukraine policy to Poland, and to a lesser extent, Sweden. That explains something I had been puzzled by: that the EU presented the Ukraine with an either/or choice between the EU and Russia last autumn.

Lieven also observes that Germany wasn't paying any attention to what Poland was doing doing, driving the EU to take an insanely anti-Russia position.

That Germany allowed Poland to enter the EU makes as clear as anything else that the FRG is USG's bitch.

scalawag
Tsarev warned Poroshenko about the "quick ATO"
"The election leading to the desire of the President of Ukraine billionaire Peter Poroshenko to quickly conduct a "special operation" in the East of the country will lead to massive civilian casualties, said the leader of the movement "South-East" Oleg Tsarev.

"Petro Poroshenko, winning at rigged and lawless elections of the President of Ukraine, stated that the Ukrainian army should better equip. And that the ATO will be quick and effective, it will not take days, but only hours. I would like to meet him in a few points. First, if he applies at least to the minimum legality, you should know that before the inauguration of the President has no authority. And yet before the results of this vote counted," said Tsarev in Facebook.

According to him, "if Poroshenko is so sure of his victory, it makes you wonder about large-scale fraud, "guaranteeing" this victory".

"Secondly, the expanding armed forces in conditions of actual default of Ukraine, when there is no money for salaries to state employees, neither retired nor for medicine for the sick is a crime before people. Mr. Poroshenko is going to further transform Ukraine into Northern Somalia," said Tsarev.

"And thirdly, "fast ATO" means huge civilian casualties, noncombatants (in violation of all international conventions). And it is a humanitarian catastrophe and a crime against humanity," he said.

"If Mr. Poroshenko wants his presidency to be bloody, inglorious and short - let him hurry, let's allow kindling the fire of war," said Tsarev.

The extraordinary elections of the President of Ukraine were held on Sunday. Without waiting for the announcement of the official election results, Poroshenko on Sunday announced about their victory and made a number of warlike statements: promised to return the Crimea and to complete the "special operation" in the East "in hours".

Fixed the translation some so it made more sense. Hopefully my "fixes" are not too far off. Original:

Царев предостерег Порошенко от "быстрой АТО"

truthbetold

http://www.thenation.com/blog/180020/left-ought-worry-about-hillary-clinton-hawk-and-militarist-2016

Speaking of Hillary, a worthwhile post, but you can bet the progs will fall in line when push comes to shove or Jeb Bush comes to shove.

crone

Victoria Nuland is married to Kagan, the 'father' of 'Clean Break' - PNAC's plan for Israel.

So far, USG has followed Kagan's 'suggestions'

Ukraine SITREP May 27th, 14:54 UTC/Zulu: assault on Donetsk and a look from above

May 27, 2014 | http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/

First, a "SITREP from the front lines" by "Juan"

-------
The Saker comments:

This is clearly a major escalation of the war. For the first time for example Su-25 ground attack aircraft have been filmed using unguided rockets to attack the positions of what I will call from now on the Novorossia Armed Forces (NAF). I have also seen some very bad footage of what appears to be a MiG-29. The attack on the Donetsk airport involved a long column of transport and attack helicopters. NAF sources also claim that their checkpoints have been attacked by Ukie helicopters. All in all, this the first (comparatively) large scale military operation of this war, at least to my knowledge. Though there are some contradictions in the figures presented by various sources, there seems to be a general agreement that "many tens" of people were killed, possibly up to one hundred, including about 50% civilians.

I have just heard the interview of two representatives of the Novorossia resistance who claim that the number of men wanting to sign up for combat has risen sharply. Alas, there was not footage provided to support this claim and since I don't know how trustworthy the information given by these officials is I can only mention here "as is" with the usual caveats.

(Pseudo) "Election" of Poroshenko as seen in Moscow

There seems to be a consensus in Moscow that Poroshenko is a political chameleon who can change his opinion as fast as this animal can change his color: first he was a member of Kuchma's United Social Democratic Party, then he helped create the Party of Regions, then he joined Yushchenko's Our Ukraine Party. He also was a member of the Azarov government under President Yanukovich whom he then betrayed by financing the Maidan movement and joining the Udar Party. So Poroshenko is the ultimate political prostitute and in Moscow this is definitely a cause for optimism because a prostitute is pragmatic and can be bought. Does that shock you? Consider the alternatives and you will rapidly come to the same conclusion as Moscow.

The bad news is that for the time being Poroshenko is clearly on the USA's payroll and that both his rhetoric and his declared policies are pretty much indistinguishable from the one of Iatseniuk, Turchinov, Avakov & Co. As a result the Kremlin's reaction to Poroshenko's announcement that he wanted to travel to Moscow to meet Putin has been to declared that at this point in time no such visit was being considered.

Russia's policy towards the Ukraine

The approach chosen by the Kremlin to deal with the Ukrainian mess is now becoming pretty clear.

  1. Declare that while Moscow has huge reservations about the so-called "elections" it will be willing to negotiate and work with whoever is in power in Kiev.
  2. Declare that secession of combat operations in the Donbass as a pre-condition for any such negotiations.
  3. Agree to try to find a deal on gas sales provided the Ukies pay their outstanding bill.
  4. Basically take note but otherwise ignore any statements made by Poroshenko and judge him by his actions and not his words.
Translated from "Diplomatese" into plain English this means putting the financial and political squeeze on Poroshenko until he decides that his current attempts at rapidly solving the problems of the Donbass by force will fail.

This is a tough and unpalatable policy because it implies that Russia will stand by and watch the neo-Nazi forces killing combatants and civilians across the Donbass. In this context it is very important to keep in mind another no less disturbing fact: the current level of resistance in the Donbass is still far below what it could be and nowhere near the kind of levels of resistance which took place in South Ossetia, Abkhazia or Crimea. Just take a look at the map of the Donbass and circle the cities where combats are taking place. You will see Slaviansk, Kramatorsk, Kransyi Liman, Antartsit and maybe one or two more. So what about all the rest?

What about Donetsk. We have all seen the combat footage coming out of Donetsk so let me ask you - how many combatants did you see on that footage? Ten, maybe thirty soldiers? More? Fifty? One hundred? Did you know that Donetsk has a population just under one million people and that the Donetsk Metropolitan area has two million? Any military analyst will tell you that you can easily put 10% of any given population under arms, and 20% with some effort. In other words, the city of Donetsk should be able to generate anywhere between 100'000 and 200'000 men and the Donetsk Metropolitan area anywhere between 200'000 and 400'000 men. While no reliable figures are available at this point, I personally doubt that the entire NAF has much more than maybe 10'000 to 15'000 men in arms (maybe "Juan" can correct me here). In other words, what is clear is that the current level of resistance in the Donbass is at best about 10% of what it could be.

That is most emphatically not something the Kremlin can ignore.

Of course, some wannabe strategists would want Moscow do to what the USA did with Iraq and simply *assume* that Russian forces will be greeted as liberators by a majority of the population of the Donbass and in this case I happen to think that it might even be true, but that is not a good enough reason to move forces in. Sadly, but what is taking place now is what I would call a massive "awareness campaign" for the people of Novorossiia: the obscene alliance of Jewish oligarchs and Galician neo-Nazis is showing its true face and with every shell dropped on the Donbass the prospect of a unitary Ukraine are becoming more and more remote.

One anonymous commentator recently posted this most insightful comment on this blog. He/she wrote: Call me cynic, but invasion is when Russia enters in Ukraine after 3 days of shooting. Liberation is when Russia enters in Ukraine after 3 months of bloody mess. This is absolutely true.

Painful as this may be to admit, the current problem is not that Russia is not ready to intervene in the Donbass, but that the Donbass is not ready to make such an intervention justifiable.

Other factors which affect the Russian stance: changes in the EU

There is no doubt at all that the results of the recent European elections have been received with elation in the Kremlin. I have carefully listened to the reaction to these election results by many commentators in Russia and it is absolutely clear that they have a very different view of what happened than their western counterparts. Where western analysts speaks of a triumph of xenophobic and Right-Wing parties, Russian analysts speak of a victory for anti-EU, anti-NATO and, ultimately, anti-US forces. Furthermore, what is labeled as "Right Wing" in the West is perceived as "conservative" or even "traditionalist" in Russia. One commentator said that the victory of the "Conchita Wurst" freak at the Eurovision Song Contest was the straw that broke the camel's back and that it had a direct impact on the European rejection of a morally degenerate and politically subservient Europe. I am not sure that the Wurst freak by itself has such a role, but the constant barrage of sicko gender propaganda, combined with a frontal assault on European traditional values probably did.

I wish I had the time to write a detailed analysis of these elections here. I will say that I follow French politics very closely and that I fully agree with the Russian point of view. The National Front is not just a "right wing" movement (although in some aspects it is). It is first and foremost an anti-system movement and party which is deeply affected by the kind of values Alain Soral promotes: the "Left of Labor and the Right of Values". True, the top leadership of the National Front is still stuck in old "Right of Labor" ideas, but most members are clearly "popular" in their politics, some even very close to Socialist ideas. In fact, I would argue that the entire Right-Left paradigm simply does not apply to Europe any more. Look at all the so-called "Left" parties in France, Germany or the UK. They are all really nasty, hardcore, capitalist and reactionary parties. I prefer to use pro-system and anti-system categories. By 'system' I mean the following characteristics:

1) free-market, capitalist, globalist, pro-corporate economic policies
2) promotion of supra-national entities like the EU and NATO
3) total political subservience to the AngloZionist empire
4) support for and constant use of the "Ziomedia" to achieve its goals
5) systematic destruction of traditional European values
6) support for a police state internally
7) support for use of military force externally

These are the policies which the establishment or "system" parties in Europe have promoted for decades and these are the policies which have been rejected in the latest European elections. Now look at Russia's stance on the very same issues:

1) Officially, Russia is a social/socialist state (Putin's words in his address to the Federal Assembly). In reality there are still many signs of very strong capitalism in Russia, but they are being regulated and contained. Most of the population is probably far more socialist than the current regime, but compared to the EU/US Russia is definitely a social state.
2) Russia is clearly opposed to the EU and NATO.
3) Russia, at least under Putin, has tried really hard to free itself from the AngloZionist Empire.
4) The Russian media has largely been "de-Zionistized". There are some exceptions like the notorious Ekho Mosvky (Echo of Moscow, also called "Ekho Matsy" or "Echo of the Matzo") and the Dozhd (Rain) TV channel, but they have very little or no traction with the general public.
5) Russia clearly support traditional values, especially Christian and Islamic ones.
6) Russia's policies on civil rights are a mixed bag. Unfortunately, the Kremlin does support Internet censorship, so-called "anti-Piracy" laws, surveillance of Internet Service Providers, etc. The Russian Duma has also passed some terrible laws banning the free discussion of WWII. The good news is that these laws seem to be applied with clear lack of determination and that they are probably more a reaction to the rise of neo-Nazis in the Ukraine than a true attempt at internal political censorship.
7) Russia clearly opposes the use of force in international affairs unless the UNSC gives it's approval, Russians are attacked or when a vital national strategic interest is threatened.

In other words, the folks in the Kremlin and the French National Front would largely agree with each other and the fact is that historically these two forces get along very well.

Russia is clearly counting on the fact that before the end of the year it might see a much more friendly Europe than it has so far.

Other factors which affect the Russian stance: crypto-alliance with China

Though I wish I could I cannot go into an analysis of the recent Russian-Chinese agreements (others have done so very well - see here, here, here or here). I will just say this:

While, for a number of reasons, the word "alliance" has never been used by Russia or Chinese officials - they prefer to speak of "partnership" - the fact is that what Russia and China have committed to is exactly that: a strategic alliance.

Two huge countries do not commit to a 30 year long full spectrum joint development program without committing to an de-facto alliance. No country decides to commit to a 400 billion dollar deal without committing to a de-facto alliance. This alliance will make it possible for Russia to create a single energy distribution network, meaning that gas could be sent from any place in Russia to any client state. As for China they have basically decided that their energy needs for the next 30 years or more will entirely depend on Russia. So whether the word "alliance" is used or not, we are dealing with a clear strategic and vital pact, the decision to operate in symbiosis if you want. From now on, China will depend on Russia and Russia will depend on China. Put differently, the survival of the other partner will become an existential priority for both countries. I call that a crypto-alliance.

Furthermore, while both sides went to extraordinary lengths to declare that this alliance or, excuse me, "partnership" was not targeted against any third party, and most definitely not against the USA, it of course is. Russia and China are now committed to create a dollar-free economic zone, not only for energy but for all goods and services. And whom do you think the Russian and Chinese military strategists see as their biggest potential enemy? Bulgaria? Nepal? Of course not, it is pretty darn obvious that they both see the US as the number one enemy or, as the Russians used to say, their "main adversary".

So this is a tectonic shift. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping have basically committed their countries to a strategic alliance which will define the future of our planet more than any other factor. Already now the combined power of Russia and China far supersedes the power of the AngloZionist Empire, thrown in the BRICS, the SCO, the CSTO and the EEC and will will clearly see the beginning of a consolidation of the Eurasian landmass against the AngloZionist Empire. Here, again, the Russians feel that time is on their sides and that with each passing day they are becoming stronger while the Western plutocracy is becoming weaker.

A look from above

So let us look at the big picture. If we "take-off" from Slaviansk or Donetsk and look at what is taking place on a global, planetary, scale we shall immediately see that the Ukraine is only the latest visible flashpoint of a much bigger struggle: the decolonization of the entire Eurasian landmass. While the US and its EU puppets have their gaze fixed on such "developments" as the (pseudo-) "election" of a non-entity like Poroshenko to the (largely symbolical) position of President of (the completely broke) "Banderastan", the Chinese and the Russians are busy looking decades down the road with the shared objective to bring down the AngloZionist Empire. In this context, the Ukraine will not be neglected, of course, but each policy decision towards the developments there will be carefully evaluated in the context of this global, over-reaching, strategy.

The Saker.

[May 27, 2014] Ukraine says it controls Donetsk airport after fighting leaves dozens dead

May 27, 2014 | The Guardian

yermelai

'Somalie pirates'! Resign Mr. Poroshenko, your methods have all ready demonstrated that with you at the helm there will only be further blood shed and further conflict.

One day of your presidency has brought us to a state of hopelessness.

GoddessOFblah -> yermelai

You're only a bad Oligarch if you don't su&ck the neo-cons d&ck.

Revolutions are only approved (and encouraged) if they don't threaten the neo-cons puppets power.

Hence Saudi Arabia can murder protestors and Al Qaeda can act as the good guys in Syria. But only when they have the approved neo-con mandate.

Jeremnyermelai

I think it is just as significant that he has declared that the current government, with Yats as prime minister, can stay in power. This election is some cosmetic change, and the war against the east will go on.

Popeyes

Putin has made it very clear that putting Ukraine in NATO and establishing missile bases on Russia's borders will be a step too far. He has implied that if Washington and European governments continue to ignore Russia and continue interfering in Russia's interests will lead to trouble.

Washington will continue to ignore Russia, however European politicians will have to decide whether Washington is pushing them into a conflict with Russia that is against European interests. The West seems not to have grasped just how vulnerable we are when we got involved in this madness, but we may be about to find out.

GoddessOFblah -> Popeyes

Noam Chomsky:

The near-universal Western condemnation of Putin includes citing the "emotional address" in which he complained bitterly that the U.S. and its allies had "cheated us again and again, made decisions behind our back, presenting us with completed facts . with the expansion of NATO in the East, with the deployment of military infrastructure at our borders. They always told us the same thing: 'Well, this doesn't involve you.' "

Putin's complaints are factually accurate. When President Gorbachev accepted the unification of Germany as part of NATO - an astonishing concession in the light of history - there was a quid pro quo. Washington agreed that NATO would not move "one inch eastward," referring to East Germany.

The promise was immediately broken, and when Gorbachev complained, he was instructed that it was only a verbal promise, so without force.

President Clinton proceeded to expand NATO much farther to the east, to Russia's borders. Today there are calls to extend NATO even to Ukraine, deep into the historic Russian "neighborhood." But it "doesn't involve" the Russians, because its responsibility to "uphold peace and stability" requires that American red lines are at Russia's borders.

Russia's annexation of Crimea was an illegal act, in violation of international law and specific treaties. It's not easy to find anything comparable in recent years - the Iraq invasion is a vastly greater crime.

But one comparable example comes to mind: U.S. control of Guantanamo Bay in southeastern Cuba. Guantanamo was wrested from Cuba at gunpoint in 1903 and not relinquished despite Cuba's demands ever since it attained independence in 1959.

To be sure, Russia has a far stronger case. Even apart from strong internal support for the annexation, Crimea is historically Russian; it has Russia's only warm-water port, the home of Russia's fleet; and has enormous strategic significance. The United States has no claim at all to Guantanamo, other than its monopoly of force.

One reason why the United States refuses to return Guantanamo to Cuba, presumably, is that this is a major harbor and American control of the region severely hampers Cuban development. That has been a major U.S. policy goal for 50 years, including large-scale terror and economic warfare.

whyohwhy1 -> Dinosaw

Hypocrisy has become the official motto of the US and their loyal servants like Hague: Yanukovich was a monster (even though he was elected in a peaceful, regular election) and the new oligarch in power is someone to support (even though his regime is using the military against opponents, unlike Yanukovich).

You can clearly see the CIA playbook after its director visit: call the political opponents "terrorists", then use maximum military force against them. Hundreds if not thousands of people will die and the US puppets in Europe will look the other way, no 24/7 coverage in the media either.

Talkthetalk, 27 May 2014 9:25am

The Ukrainian military is using jets and helicopters against its own people killing civilians not just fighters. The death toll is much higher than 30 as this paper is claiming. Prince Charles compared the Russia to the Nazis last week but it is the Ukrainian government that is behaving like fascists and all supported by the West. The BBC didn't even cover the story on its TV news.

annette83, 27 May 2014 9:28am

And by the way, Poroshenko was one of the 3 persons always travelling to the US and Europe during this whole crisis. So for me, it is more than obvious that Ukrainian people had nothing to do with him having been chosen. He's just another American "puppet".

Rich_N, 27 May 2014 9:49am

What better way to show what a civilised country Ukraine is than for its new president to order the shelling of old ladies in their villages, airstrikes on an a civilian airport and the attack on a vehicle that was being used to evacuate the injured. If these atrocities were happening anywhere else in the world I can't help thinking that the media coverage would be more critical, but because all this murder is in the interests of the EU/US there is little criticism. Regardless of one's political persuasions anyone who claims to support a peaceful and democratic (civilised) Europe should be calling on Kiev to stop this assault on the east and start talking to those who want separatism and understand why they think they are better off outside Ukraine.

Hootenannys -> Rich_N

Did you see the shelling of old ladies in their villages or did you just make it up?

Rich_N -> Hootenannys

No, the shelling of Slovyansk was reported by the BBC, Guardian, Euronews and of course RT. Deliberate or not untargeted shelling of residential areas can hardely be described as civilised.

yermelai, 27 May 2014 9:55am

Oligarchs are not a solution they are the heart of the problem!

For the past twenty years Ukraine has been an oligarchy and not a sovereign country. As we have seen oligarchs can take over and organise mass ralleys, they can take jobs in gov't and often do, and can build private armies to serve their own purposes. All this through 'appropriation' of a country's national industries and supported by US economic liberal policies and their expansionist needs.

On the other hand, a country is based on state institutions being separated from business powers. National wealth and industries built by the state must remain under state control to ensure the economic stability of a unified country.

As with Europe it obviously suits US corporate interests to have an oligarch to do business with and not a properly functuioning state where the needs of all citizens would be the states ultimate responsibility.

Naturally, Mr.Poroshenko ' the shepherd of Kanal 5' does not want to give up his mass media outlet for then he would have no chance of controlloing the mindset of the largest minority necessary to win the 'presidency'.

Our times illustrate that the US abandoned 'democracy' a long time ago - being a gov't of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. (W. BusH was elected by a Supreme Court). That Europe has been converted into a political super state in accordance with US wishes that will facilitate the adoption of a transatlantic free trade agreement.

In my opinion it is a mistake to imagine that a weak Ukraine is in the interests of the Kremlin. If UKraine were to be a strong 'country' with properly functioning state institutions and free of oligarchs it would have a flourishing and fair economy and Ukrainians would have no need for the 'illusion of Europe'.

Voltaire21, 27 May 2014 10:01am

The pro-Russian rebels have asked for this, so now they are getting it. As I predicted Putin never had any intentions of helping out the East Ukrainians, so they are all alone in their shit stirring.
I would not like to be at the receiving end of an attack helicopter but they seem okay to fight on against those odds which tells me that the fighting is as important as making a political statement. Alot ofpro-Russia thugs in East Ukraine must be very bored to conduct such a reckless war.

As long as there is man there will be war.

iseethroughyou -> Voltaire21, 27 May 2014 10:06am

So people who protest against a coup against a democratically elected government to be replaced with a Neo-Nazi riddled coup government are shit stirrers ?

Strange set of priorities you have there.

AlexRussia, 27 May 2014 10:07am

Donbass miners announced an ultimatum to the authorities of Kiev.

They demanded withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Donetsk and Lugansk regions, threatening to take up arms.

hertsred, 27 May 2014 10:22am

So the Guardian's neo-cons are getting the massacre they have campaigned for. Congratulations, I hope you're all happy. This sort of thing is the inevitable result of backing extremist nationalists. You wouldn't wouldn't back them in western Europe, why do it in Eastern Europe.

vazelas99, 27 May 2014 10:25am

Finally the newly elected president of Ukraine for unity and stability will bring some peace in the east, after he uses heavy fire, jets, helicopters and all he can to kill everyone that might oppose him or disapprove of him, including civilians killed by mortars, and then he can have talks with whoever is spared. At the same time Europe stands aside and applauds the first use of military against one's own citizens in Europe for decades, ready to welcome them in the EU family!

and then people wonder why the eurosceptics did so well in the recent elections...

BMWAlbertvazelas99, 27 May 2014 10:34am

In Julia's mind, it is 100 down, 7,999,900 to go.

NorthWestFeather, 27 May 2014 10:47am

Guess who is in Kiev? Madeleine Albright - whose good works contributed to the invasion of Iraq.

http://edition.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2014/05/26/the-lead-madeleine-albright.cnn.html

Nuckelavee, 27 May 2014 10:53am

This Porochenko…?

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/05/24/weapons-prostitutes-drugs-things-poroshenko-associated-with.html

PeterSchmidt, 27 May 2014 10:58am

It is simple, Porosheko was given the job of crushing the rebellion. In return he was promised silence from the western media on any atrocities committed.

One thing history shown us that hatred will never go away. The US has made sure that Ukraine will remain a broken and divided country. That was the aim. Now the looting of resources can begin. And as the 'history' of Ukraine shows us, there will not be a real president and an independent government there for another 100 years.

TheWindsOfFreedom, 27 May 2014 10:59am

As an EU citizen, I don't want current Ukraine as a member state. To think these murderers of Right Sector will have open borders throughout Europe... unacceptable.

EbbTide64 -> indoorain, 27 May 2014 12:16pm

Have all the families of the Odessa victims been given the bodies of their loved ones? Did any of them say anything about people having been shot, or people with burnt heads and shoulders but unburnt lower bodies, as if they had had a flammable liquid poured over them and then been set on fire?

Or have the state not released all the bodies?

bibi62, 27 May 2014 11:49am


THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2014

(...)
The United States looks forward to working with the next President, as well as the democratically elected parliament, to support Ukraine's efforts to enact important political and economic reforms. We also continue to support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, condemn and reject Russia's occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, and remain committed to working with Ukraine and other partners to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

peaceful (ˈpiːsfʊl),

adj
1. not in a state of war or disagreement
2. tranquil; calm
3. not involving violence: peaceful picketing.
4. of, relating to, or in accord with a time of peace: peaceful uses of atomic energy.
5. inclined towards peace

1. characterized by peace; free from war, strife, commotion, violence, or disorder.
2. of or characteristic of a state or time of peace.
3. peaceable; not argumentative or quarrelsome.


Then they are the facts:

Fatalities may reach 100 people in a punitive operation active stage of which Ukrainian law enforcement agencies started in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Monday,Chairman of the Supreme Council presidium of the Donetsk People's Republic Denis Pushilin reported to TASS news agency on Tuesday. He added that there were up to 50 civilians among the victims. Earlier, Donetsk mayor Alexander Lukyanchenko said that 40 people were killed in fighting on May 26.

VladimirM:

Many people here refer to Chechnya.

Do those who draw a parallel between the two conflicts remember how Western mass media were covering that war, or what language was used, etc.? Remind me, please, did the West condemn, was the West deeply concerned, did it mention human rights or freedom of speech violations in Chechnya?

What about Ukraine?

NWObserver -> VladimirM


Do you actually believe that the West or Westerners have any values, other than what they deem to be in their interests, they strive to be consistent with?

[May 27, 2014] Can Petro Poroshenko Save Ukraine?

Rare interesting discussion of Ukrainian situation in the US press. Elections has rearranging-chairs-on-the-Titanic quality while the entire ship has been sinking. It looks like Matthew Rojansky discussion Ukrainian political class assumes that they are independent actors and overlooks the puppeteer behind the curtain and does not want EuroMaidan event a color revolution (the second Orange Revolution). But his statement that Petro Poroshenko belongs to old the guard (or more correctly to Yushchenko comprador clan) and as such is responsible for the current political situation is very true. Analogy with Libya holds true too. To rephrase Paul R. Pillar: "The mélange of militias is now in control, not the central government. We do not know exactly what would have been the course of the revolt against Yanukovich had outside states not intervened. We do know that several states, including the United States, did intervene forcefully, and for that reason they share some responsibility for the situation... The intervention already has negatively affected U.S. interests... " (nationalinterest.org) Compare with much weaker Rajan Menon's article published in the same magazine
Nationalinterest.org

Simply put, Ukraine is caught between a rock and a hard place. The rock is the continuing pressure from Moscow, pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass, and the oligarchs who control the lion's share of Ukraine's national wealth, all seeking to preserve their prerogatives and privileges in the new order. The hard place is the diametrically opposite demand of hardcore Maidan activists, self-appointed people's militias, and the ordinary Ukrainians who have supported them, that the system must be torn down altogether and rebuilt on new foundations of national unity around Ukrainian identity, good governance, and European integration.

... ... ...

Poroshenko's victory is unlikely to bring change mainly because Ukraine has already changed on its own, denying the traditional political class-including Poroshenko and each of his main rivals-a stable footing on which to ply their trade. In fact, the factions that divide Ukraine today don't give a hoot for the promises of political candidates, or the outcome of the elections.

The situation of the so-called "people's republics" led by pro-Russian separatists in parts of the southeastern Donbass is already well known, as is that of Russian-occupied Crimea. Yet there is another, nominally pro-Ukrainian part of the population, which harbors almost equal contempt for the acting authorities in Kyiv. Some are now serving in loosely constituted "national guard" and other paramilitary units that have gone to Donbass to fight the separatists.

The deepest division may not even be between those fighting on opposite sides in Donbass, but rather within Kyiv itself, between those who see themselves as guardians of an ongoing revolution, and those who are basically prepared to go back to business as usual.

... ... ...

The dominant figures-Poroshenko, Tymoshenko, and Yatseniuk-are seen as holdovers from the old regime, and are well known to have enjoyed personal wealth and privilege whether they were in or out of power. The more marginal actors-especially nationalists like Oleh Tyahnibok, Dmytro Yarosh, and Oleh Lyashko-could be either coopted or bulldozed by Ukraine's super-rich oligarchs, or take such a hardline position that they will alienate Americans, Europeans, and most Ukrainians as well.

It is hard to see how a future government in Kyiv composed of such figures can either win the trust and confidence of Maidan veterans, or come to terms with southeastern separatists, sympathizers and Russian interventionists who reject the legitimacy of the Ukrainian state per se-let alone do both.

Matthew Rojansky is the director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center. Follow him on Twitter: @MatthewRojansky. Last May and June, he spent two months living in Kiev on a research fellowship for the U.S. Embassy (http://www.usnews.com)

[May 26, 2014] In Ukraine, fighting at airport continues as president-elect vows to seek unity

Wash post was shy to say that the US Ambassador to Kiev became de-facto ruler of Ukraine.

May 26, 2014 | washingtonpost.com

Poroshenko, 48, a chocolate magnate who ran on a platform of bringing Ukraine closer to its European neighbors, vowed Monday to launch a swift military operation to crush the separatists, whom he likened to "Somali pirates."

"Their goal is to turn Donbas into Somalia, and I will never allow such things to happen in my country," he said, using another name for the Donets Basin and apparently citing the African nation as an example of a place where militants have more power than the state.

... ... ...

Poroshenko said those talks would start as early as next month, adding that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin "know each other quite well."

Russian officials said Monday that the Kremlin was ready to hold talks with Poroshenko, signaling a more conciliatory tone after months of finger-pointing between Kiev and Moscow amid a conflict that has left Russia's relationship with the United States and Europe at its lowest point since the Cold War.

... ... ...

"It's not the end of the game," said Fyodor Lukyanov, a Moscow-based political analyst and the editor in chief of Russia in Global Affairs magazine. "I think Putin's view on Ukraine is that it is a very long-term crisis," he said. And Poroshenko "will need to seek deals with Russia and the eastern part of the country."

Adding to the challenge, the Kremlin's intentions may be inherently at odds with Poroshenko's goals, one analyst said.

... ... ...

Ukrainians who voted for Poroshenko in more stable regions of the country expressed hope over the weekend that his experience - and the lesser nature of his corruption, compared with that of his peers - would give him an edge in resolving the nation's conflict.

Buoyed by the election's success, Kiev mayor-elect Vitali Klitschko said Monday that it was time to clear the city's central square of the barricades and protester encampments that have blocked roads in and out of the area since November.

The presence of the encampments has been a goad to separatists who seized government buildings and set up barricades in eastern Ukraine; they accuse Kiev of enforcing a double standard.

onaclearday

So...Russia gets to ink their phenomenal energy deal with China, draws closer to India, Brazil, and the emerging world economies generally. And we get Ukraine, with it's 3.2 Billion debt to Russia and the absolute rock bottom worst economy in Europe. What am I missing in the wisdom of US policy here? And please don't tell me the triumph of democracy. That isn't what this propaganda war has been about.

freddie11

This is the fruit of rank, savage, grasping, greedy-for-Ukrainian-oil US imperialism -- an invasion of Ukraine by the CIA and State Department and maybe a Seal Team or two just as surely as Iraq was invaded -- but not with boots on the ground.

An assistant secretary of state on the ground and then Kerry on the ground and then the CIA fuehrer on the ground and then Biden on the ground. The Obama US empire appears ready to destroy Ukraine as the US empire destroyed Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, is destroying Syria, Yugoslavia...

And as in Syriam whgere the US supported "rebels" affiliated with the SAME AL-QAEDA that BVLEW UP THE WORLD TRADE CENTER TOWERS ON 9/11, NOW the US empire has placed fascist and outright anti-Semitic ancestral Nazis in power via the coup d-etat government.

Moreover, even had it BEEN nationwide, the presidential election without LEFT AND CENTER OPPOSITION

DOES

NOT

LEGITIMATE

the coup government.

ONLY A PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION WOULD DO THAT.

countykerry


I just read an article that I thought interesting, may be someone else will also incase you have not already read it. The problem is I don't know how to write in the blue lettering so..........
site........in these times
article..........The Politics of Red Lines, Noam Chomsky
Simply gives another view of what is going on.

MeriJ, 5/26/2014 10:56 PM EST

http://inthesetimes.com/article/16631/russia_ukrai...

You just copy the URL address and paste that.

MeriJ, 5/26/2014 11:44 PM EST [Edited]

I can top that. Read this one by Reagan's ambassador to Russia back in the day:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/who-is-the-...

DELewes, 5/26/2014 6:15 PM EST [Edited]

Here's something I came across that I thought I'd post. It falls under the category of what Putin get's out of this.

'Russia is struggling to revive its $2 trillion economy after the U.S. and the European Union imposed sanctions over President Vladimir Putin's decision to absorb the Crimea peninsula in March and threatened to widen them if Ukraine's vote was disrupted yesterday. Growth slowed to 0.9 percent in the first quarter, as capital flight surged to $50.6 billion.'

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-05-26/gazpro...

Stay thirsty my friends.

www.Bush-Bush.Bush

that's why we call them " Pinkos ".

Alex Kas, 5/26/2014 5:57 PM EST

Color revolutions - the color pink, orange, gray.

apspa1, 5/26/2014 5:32 PM EST

Late last year EU/US initiated a two pronged approach to draw Ukraine away from Russian influence - such as it was.

- the EU, not particularly in thrall to NATO, offered membership and solution to their economic problems
- the US/NATO, not particularly a friend of EU competition, appealed to anti-Russian elements to join NATO

Some NATO history:

After failing to maneuver Hitler into launching his war first to the east, the West created NATO in 1949 to confront the Soviet Union with an eye to limit its successes and eventually destroy it where the war failed..

The plan was to enlist every nation as possible to encircle the USSR militarily and, whenever possible, economically. The last such effort was the US creation of the mujahedeen and Osama bin Laden's terrorists to bring Afghanistan into NATO's ranks.

After the collapse of the SU, the plan for NATO's expansion continued, only now to gain former members of the USSR including Russia in a new era of old-fashioned imperialism.

NATO has most recently attempted to take Georgia but Putin sent in troops as a warning to the west to stop violating agreements after the Kosovo War. He was very clear about having had enough of Western aggression.

Today Putin has Crimea. Without the strategic military value of Crimea NATO no longer is interested in Ukraine. The two-pronged effort has been weakened by half.

The West was playing checkers while Putin was playing chess.

MeriJ, 5/26/2014 4:47 PM EST [Edited]
Interesting editorial here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jackson-die...

He argues that Ukraine's descent into chaos strengthens the hands of the oligarchs as the only powers capable of restoring stability.

But he also suggests that the depth of corruption under Yanu was so over-the-top that improvements will be relatively easy to make.

I'm not so sure, but it's worth reading.

StraightDope

Same reason there are so many oligarchs in US....Gorbachev was an absolute disaster as was his successor Yeltsin- you continue to spew nonsense.

DELewes

Yeltsin was a disaster, not Gorbachev. Gorbachev would never have allowed whole sale privatization to go forward.

NeverL84aD8

Dope: "Same reason there are so many oligarchs in US."

True enough, Straight Dope also raises the issue of our American oligarchs, and so we might ask also, why is it we are giving corporate welfare to the oil companies when they are making record profits. You're right in that respect, Straight man, and yes, our oligarchs do indeed influence our government, indeed, purchasing our legislators is now deemed a matter of the oligarch's "Constitutional rights." Now lets see you take a position regularly against government corruption, by money, and its consequence, to wit, income inequality in America.

Here it appears, in the context of your other absurd posts, that you are just being a nuisance, and so we normally would just skip over your posts, but if you want to start posting sanely, even in just a part of your posts, you might actually influence people instead of just annoying them.

apspa1, 5/26/2014 3:50 PM EST
Why did/does the EU want Ukraine to join the Union?

Let's put it this way. Think of the EU as a business, much like it was once said that "the business of America is business" by Coolidge.

As a business, the EU seeks growth, as it must, thru various ways including acquisition of resources, cheap labor and new markets to sell its goods at ever greater rates of profit.

Acquiring a country like Ukraine that has an ailing economy can be very profitable for the stronger economies of the EU like Germany.

The solutions to an ailing economy involve the EU along with the IMF and the WB imposing austerity programs like lower wages, attacks on union contracts, lower taxes for the corporations and the wealthy, longer hours of work with no overtime pay, increases in rents, services and goods, cutting worker's benefits like health care and unemployment insurance etcetc.

Loans at high interests rates paid for by the austerity cuts. Smaller companies swallowed up for cut-rate prices, and the list goes on.

The EU just recently showed the world how it can use its rules to rape its weaker members in the name of helping them by picking the meat off the bones of Spain and Greece. Germany emerged from that feast as the EU's strongest economy.

It is no accident Germany has been playing a leading role in this attempt to make Ukraine its latest victim. And it is no accident that Germany quickly countered with a loan and membership offer soon after Russia

countykerry

It must be very, very hard living in a country that is split into parts. Enormous feelings going back generations, I have never lived in such a situation so it is difficult to understand what the people must be going thru.
No matter what happens it is always how one defines themself, that will determine actions. And sometimes those actions and thoughts can be quite irrational..............for instance the man that told me California really belongs to Mexico, Mexico was simply robbed..........now just think how long ago that took place and one can see the irrationality.

[May 26, 2014] With the coming to power of Petro Poroshenko, the war will go down in every city of Donbass

The elections ended in the first round, Ukraine has a President. At the headquarters of the presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko does not exclude that the inauguration of a new President can be held June 8-10.

IA REX: What we can expect from Poroshenko in foreign and domestic policy?

Andrey Vajra, political scientist:

With the coming to power of Petro Poroshenko, the war will go down in every city of Donbass. This character has the consciousness of a bandit, so he will try to soak the region, to show how tough he is. But at the same time, Poroshenko is not too intelligent politican. I know this firsthand. So I can immediately say that there will be a lot of nonsense, a lot of promises, a lot of blood, a lot of corpses and no positive result for Kiev. The main task Poroshenko, for which he was brought by Americans to this position, is to spin the wheel of the civil war.

Aleftin Tishchenko, psychologist:

Read on the web opinion about the election in Ukraine, and the main thing that unites them, it the hope that that the billionaire oligarch Poroshenko will bring the peace. Methods are different from the brutal suppression of any resistance, to political decisions of "reconciliation" with the East of Ukraine.

They forget that in Ukraine quite recently there was a peace. And there was a very similar oligarch at the helm of the country. And there were variants of the agreements between power and opposition and the lack of any armed resistance in the regions. And even the Crimea was in place.

Was the coup worth the money and lives it took? Hundreds, if not thousands of lives, is the cost of the accession Poroshenko to on the throne. And how much more lives he will take now.

And the White house representative Psaki without any embarrassment, confidently tells us "Elections in Ukraine were held according to democratic procedures and all-in-all, they are legitimate, rejoice". And some skeptical journalist as will ask an awkward question, and Psaki again hit the dirt face down. It's understandable, it's her work to take the heat. To fall in the dirt face down. Uncle Sam wants to dominate Ukraine, even using wrong, and criminal methods like a coup. This is what Uncle Sam wants. And everybody else should go to hell.

[May 26, 2014] Babetta (aka Timoshenko) does not go to the war by Sergey Ponomarev

May 26, 2014 | Polemika.com.ua

Kiev electorate has not failed the expectations. Once again it proved the high civic consciousness, the ability for adult, intelligent assessment of reality as well as its good taste. Residents of the capital rushed to the election booths (not forgetting to put on a Ukrainian national shirts) to cast their vote, including a new hope for Kiev itself, which till now has been shown that it is actually possible manage the municipal economy by a method of blowing up the nostrils. Looks like Kievites feel that Petro Poroshenko should be their President and naturally chose his ally Vitaly Vladimirovich Klischko to be the mayor of Kiev. I am very happy for the Kievites, because now they can start a new life. From scratch. After suffering from a newcomer Popov, and after experiencing care of Bondarenko, they are now ready to fully enjoy pleasures of professional city management in the execution of former boxer.

If about the mayor's post there were some uncertainty as for the victory of Poroshenko I had no slightest doubt. I predicted that 7 years ago but at the time absolutely no one believed me. But to me it was obvious, that he is the next king. And that victory will be achieved in the first round. The only thing that I failed to predict is the exact percentage who voted "for". PR people of Poroshenko chose 56% which it is the content of cocoa beans on the covers of the most popular chocolate bars produced by tycoon. This is witty, I should admit.

No doubt they can paint, in principle, any percentage they want. And Peter produce chocolate even more bitter , but they managed to produce a illusion of counting of votes, and the victory in the first round was ensured, as it would cost additional money to conduct a second round.

In General, the country got a new President, at least the part of its citizens, who visited the voting booths and thought about elections as legitimate.

Nobody was confused by a photo ballot boxes with huge piles of neatly stacked in the printing of ballots - abrasively they didn't even bother to fluff up the stack to give an impression of real voting.

The OSCE recognized the elections as valid and beautiful example of European democracy in advance. The U.S. Ambassador before the end of voting, said that the turnout was just the magnificent, world neocon and neoliberal community generally is breathless from impeccable performance of the puppets. Ask Psaki, if you don't believe me.

Observers of OSCE have no complaints whatsoever. Voting using other people's passports and generally without them - is a proud tradition in Galicia where gastarbeiters move to target countries in spring, and remaining grandmothers traditionally vote for all the missing relatives. This is highly normal and in best standards of European Democracy. And why we should be shy about this proud tradition knowing that the world will be applauding this fucking celebration of Ukrainian democracy, anyway.

Nobody confuse photos of ballot boxes with piles of neatly stacked ballots as a violation. Despite the abrasive half that they didn't even bother to fluff up the stack to give it the minimum likelihood of honest elections. The Central Commission controlled by junta behaves as it should announcing that the violations ascertained are small and insignificant. And yes they are small, well, if think small they manage to lose 5 million ballots. But this tiny details should not stop the triumph of democracy in Ukraine.

So, Poroshenko is practically President, he has congratulated Ukrainians with this fine selection and promised first of all to fly to Donetsk. Is this in order to personally charge rocket launchers to bombard and exterminate "separatists"? No, of course, Petro is now peacemaker and negotiator with good people. As well as strict educator (using shell and bullets) of the bad one. So it is intent to spread bullet and shells showers and other attributes of democracy on Donbas region, strengthening the intensity of the ATO in his victorious glow.

All the dirt on Poroshenko traditionally not confused the voters who, as always, decide to chose somebody worthy to govern then, and that in a few months will surely curse him. Nothing changes in Ukraine, that's for sure. So again that rule is neither make conclusions fropprevious mistake, or god forbid take lessons in order not to repeat them (hint Yushchenko and Orange Revolution). And really why bother ? Life is good in any case.

This time there is an interesting nuance -- as soon in the country will adopt a new Constitution, the demand of permanently jumping up-and down Maidan revolutionaries and our inspired by their baseball bats people's deputies; both convinced that only a parliamentary Republic will save Ukraine. Well, you've seen how we dealt with establishing legislative branch of power all these years, so it is not create that that will save us. However, this new Constitution will greatly hamstring the authority of the President. In theory, of course. My natural skepticism tells me that Petr Poroshenko suddenly cooled town to this wonderful idea.

The second place, according to exit polling, took Yulia Timoshenko with such a low number, that she probably decided not to gather Maidan III and initiate a third revolution. Despite on that on such possibility our "Passionaria" transparently hinted before even adopting her new hairstyle "Babetta goes to war". Now it a senseless idea. I think that Timoshenko instead suddenly became really enchanted by the idea of a parliamentary Republic. And the she under the banner of the Fatherland and with the help of attached to it fish-parasites will try to organizes acceptance of the new Constitution in record time, in order to fight for strategically important place of the Prime Minister.

The evening media already reported that Timoshenko graciously acknowledged the victory of his opponent, who never even go down to debate with her, rightly pointing out that the candidate with the third rating is not interesting for him. I don't think that Yulia Timoshenko, who had suddenly became poring with milk and honey, forgot this humiliation, as this definitely not a feature of female psychopath mentality. In reality she has a very long memory, especially toward people who did something bad to her. Yes, she does. Therefore losing a battle but not the war (at least, she thinks it is), Babetta immediately announced that she will help the new government. In Russian card game preference such assistance is called the American - and this have a shade of black humor or angry sarcasm. The latter is a word more adequate for the current situation. The promise of help from Yulia Timoshenko looks direct and obvious threat to Poroshenko, especially if we consider, that all the key position of the Provisional (which now have chances to became permanent) government of the country are controlled by her Batkivshchina colleagues. .

And paradoxically she still has some colleagues. As strange as it sounds not yet all of them fled to Poroshenko as is expected from Ukrainian politicians, known worldwide for its high moral character and devotion to their party. For example Avakov, apparently, not warned by the patron of the fact that the strategy has changed, and the war with Poroshenko is cancelled, broke into a huge text, which declares the elections almost totally falsified: "According to the interior Ministry, extraordinary elections of the President of Ukraine are held with numerous violations. As at 19.00 marked almost 1000 violations, many of which may call into question the legitimacy of the future President. The most common types of violations of election laws have become physical violence and threats of its application, the voter bribery and illegal propaganda". And he cites numerous examples.

Today there are predictions about the obvious vector of the forthcoming friendly drift of the Batkivshchina brass and its best representatives in the camp of yesterday's enemy. Plus the amount of compromising materials of chocolate rabbit, and articles ordered to trounce him will be temporarily laid aside - nothing personal, all of us in Ukraine are champions of clean politics.

However, after some time this posting was deleted from a personal page Avakov - apparently thousand breaches suddenly did not pass the spelling check, and he Arsen Borisovich felt a sudden change of fate and decided to pay attention to the winner.

A special flavor to the second place of Timoshenko is that in one Internet poll, published immediately after the polls closed, the second place got Oleg V. Lyashko to the rate of 11.1% and Yulia Timoshenko became only the fourth. Actually, in other exit polls, this crazy, but extremely prudent and murderous clown, received more than 8%, which, you should agree explains well the views of the people of this Christian nations.

Of course, the final data about Ukrainians vote in the election of the President and mayors we'll know tomorrow, as today are trying to trust the exit polling, although according to sociologists, not wrong only is slightly more the half cases. Some people who were interviewed at the exit from the polling stations tell truth, but many obviously simply lied. For example, Yarosh on these surveys receives only 1%, and it means only that many Ukrainians will choose him, but still hesitate to admit it openly... Turnout for the nights come around 60%+, though modestly predicted a 70% - and this despite that most people ignored of the elections in the South-East.

The counting process is of course the most interesting part, and naturally and traditionally the most suspicious, Ukrainians were informed by Nalyvaychenko that in fact the system "Elections" has been hacked. Nasty virus, can change the results of election as Nalyvaychenko told us; and it proved to tenacious and can brazenly deny the victory of the person that Nalyvaychenko wants to win despite the best efforts of our security officers. The system still does not work, so count will be performed manually, though the question is if there will be a count? We are used to the fact that two plus two always produce different results depending on the fact that we sell or buy. If there were exit polls, which confirmed the credibility of the revolutionary forces of the Maidan and the consensus of the major players. So elections are actually redundant if we have pools. And really why NGOs should pay more?

In General, the elections were held, the Ukrainian TV channels, never playing the role pf presstitutes, were delighted and glow in Patriotic rage. All day sweet rejoicing voices reported the unprecedented rise of consciousness, record turnout of voters, huge like the ballot boxes. But suddely wll went black and rainstom fall on Kiev. And there was a real bolt from the Sunny skies. Looks like "darkness has covered the city hated by the Procurator". Being is depth of thier hearts still pagans and mystics, Ukrainians immediately started to wisper to each other that this the voice of God, a sign from heaven. And why we need signs from the heaven, when the USA exists is unclear to me. After all every man in this country is a maker of his own fortune, Yes all of us.

While the country is discussing electoral turnout, ratings and violations, the shelling of cilians on its East continues. To make them to run to election booth quicker. The mortar shelling of a hospital, the execution of the rebels, who tried to hinder the holding of elections at one of the stations on the territory of DND. The murder of an Italian journalist and his Russian translator, heavy wound of a French correspondent. He said they came under heavy fire of the Ukrainian army, but our media immediately announced by the mouth of his best representatives that reporters were killed by insurgents, not embarrassed one bit by the presence of the the survivor of the mess. Lugansk, dying from fear, waiting for the fire of "Hurricanes" - Poroshenko didn't conceal their murderous plans.

On the territory of Ukraine not made another Russian journalists, despite their accreditation cards, the necessary amount of money and identities. Simultaneously released reporters LifeNews - thanks to the efforts of President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who informed us about the mysterious presence in Kyiv of highly intelligent people, who managed properly understand the weight of the arguments of this Head of mountain people. My sense of professional solidarity, of course, is satisfied, and I am very happy, but there is one unanswered question that remains - what's up with MANPADS? The guys say that the anti-aircraft complex named was planted, but Pashinskiy and Nalyvaichenko assured the public that the journalists were carrying it and even led the fighting insurgents, carefully simulating Donetsk accent. In this case how you (I means Pashinskiy and Nalyvaichenko (who became big friends since Maidan sniper incident, you know) managed to released those murderous spies? Why you let them go?

In the information space there is more and more clearly crystallized opinion that all this is about dividing the country is divided between oligarchs and their private military companies; that this will not stop until each of them get his own feud. Until then there will be no end to the horror. And that the Central government is rather vassal than the suzerain; that no one will give us indulgence from the blunders committed - neither Russia nor Europe; that the Americans played us like a mark in poker game with Russia and while Russian assume that this is the game of chess, the USA played American football with them . Such a geopolitical mess.

But now at the end we at least understand what Ukrainian people really wanted on Maidan - it's a chocolate oligarch my friends.

In Russia, Tune Changes About Leader in Ukraine

While Poroshenko is a corrupt pro-Western oligarch who replaced another corrupt pro-Western oligarch Yanukovich as the President of Ukraine, the fact is that he does have some level of population support. At least in Western Ukraine, he is a legitimate President. My impression is the number of voters in South-East was less that in typical elections as they have nobody who represented their interests (I think Tigipko would be a good compromise figure for South East, at least better then Poroshnko, but people though otherwise).
NYTimes.com

Petro O. Poroshenko, the billionaire businessman who won Ukraine's presidential election on Sunday, was portrayed last month in a bilious campaign profile on Russian television here as money-grubbing, devious, a radical sympathizer - in short, a run-of-the-mill Ukrainian politician to Russian eyes.

The program on NTV, a Kremlin ally, said he owned a mansion resembling the White House, clear evidence of dangerous Western sympathies. The report mocked him as "The Chocolate Rabbit," twisting his usual nickname, "The Chocolate King," from his confectionary fortune. A scientist, or at least someone wearing a white coat, materialized on screen to denounce his popular Roshen chocolate brand as riddled with carcinogens.

Then as Mr. Poroshenko emerged as the front-runner, a change occurred. The attacks ceased, and his chocolate factory in southern Russia, which government police had shuttered, was allowed to operate again.

[May 26, 2014] The "other West" - one more example

Alexander Solzhenitsyn liked to say that "one teaspoon of sea water gives you the taste of the ocean". Today I would like to post here the text of a letter to the Russian embassy in Germany by a private person which is exactly that: the letter of (only) one person. However, the feelings which it conveys are, I believe, shared by a lot of people in the "West". It would well be that this letter is like Solzhenitsyn's teaspoon and that it gives us the taste of an ocean of people which the imperial propaganda machine is trying to hide from us.

Here is how this person explained to me the motive behind the writing of this letter:

Earlier this month I wrote an e-mail to the Russian Embassy in Germany. I thought I'd share it. It isn't much, but I felt I need to send out some peaceful "signals". Our leaders are completely controlled by the US agenda. They do not take the calls for deescalation and peace serious, and many in Germany speak out for that. I find it incredibly sad how our country is a hostage of the US. No idea how we can ever get out of that strangle hold.
Does it make sense to write such personal letters?

I strongly believe that it does. First, it will be read by somebody in the Russian diplomatic corps and that somebody is most definitely in need of moral support in these times of rabid russophobia. Second, Russian diplomats understand that for one person who put pen to paper there will be one hundred who did not, but who feel likewise. But third, and that is most important, this person freed himself from the burden of passive collaboration, of being a silent accomplice of what is being done in his name. That kind of soul-cleansing immensely profits the person who performs it. Most of us do not have the power to really affect the outcome of what takes place around us, nevermind changing the course of history, but we do have the power to refuse to let the "system" (for lack of a better word) survive through us. That individual refusal to support the system is what brought down the Soviet Union and which, I strongly believe, will bring down the AngloZionist Empire.

The Saker
-------
Translation of the original letter (written in German):

Dear Sirs and Madams,

In consideration of the ever increasing tensions between Germany and Russia, I would like to apologize for the behavior of our government. Right from the start I was assailed by a very bad feeling due to occurrences in the Ukraine. I am a German and also a US citizen and feel great shame for the foreign policies of both Nations. To me, just like to many Russian people, it is unfathomable that Germany and the United States would openly support Fascists in the Ukraine and that our political leaders can not be dissuaded from doing so. There are more and more attempts at making Russia seem like the guilty party on the world's stage, which is another thing troubling me. One is forced to conclude that certain influential circles in „the West" intend to provoke an armed conflict with Russia, a cause for great concern. It is my hope that things will not go that far, since Germany would certainly be at the center of events. Hopefully people in Russia are aware that the majority of Germans do not want a war with Russia and that many people here are increasingly disillusioned with the policies of our Government, NATO and of the United States. The outrage is growing. The words and deeds of our Chancellor drive home the fact of the US's predominance also in Germany. Surely you can imagine that it is painful for me to say such things, since I was born in the United States and therefore have ties to the country and the people. Peace and understanding between peoples have greater personal meaning than blind patriotism and nationalism though. And it is clear to see that Germany needs strong and positive ties with Russia. Whether the US leaders will realize that is doubtful. I can only question the rationality of some American officials. In the past days I have voiced my opinion on some social networks, including the page of the German Secretary of State. Unfortunately I was blocked there, as many others who voiced their criticism. Apparently political leaders here in Germany, have abandoned the public's opinions, the same can be said of the media here. It has turned out to be the worst propaganda in a long time and is reminiscent of the days before World War II. Hopefully the tensions will decrease, instead of rising further. And I hope that President Putin will continue to act in a level-headed manner. I can not help but call Merkel's and Obama's behavior insane.

I would appreciate if you could forward this mail to the correct recipients. Thank you in advance.

Kind regards,

XXX

[May 26, 2014] Ukrainian farce

The person who financed EuroMaidan (and previously Orange Revolution) and provided propaganda support via owned by him 5 TV channel came to power as a result of Presidential election. It's funny that the net EuroMaidan result became the election of corrupt oligarch Poroshenko, instead of corrupt oligarchs of Yanukovich ;-). The elections were essentially an attempt to legitimize putsch on the part of US and EU. Example of "export of democracy" in which main benefits are reserved for the exporter and importer is struggling after. Still it is a step in right relation because Poroshenko now does have some electoral mandate, which junta never has had. But the far right militias are still on the street and can't be removed without a fight. And they are the real power in the country and they might not like attempt of chocolate magnate at dissolving them. They expect some sort of reward for their "struggle and sacrifices". Judging from the election results, they have support of approximately 10%-15% of population (those who votes for Lyashko, Svoboda and Right Sector), which is a substantial number making them the national force. And they believe in and behave that power comes from barrel of the gun and they have guns. In any case Poroshenko will not be independent President. He is totally dependent of the USA and do not have a power base of his own. Only people who think that he is lesser evil.
RT CrossTalk

bremont -> Alfredo 26.05.2014 11:18

well now the Europe does not want Ukraine as a partner you got a rift between Europeans folks, European citizens, and what Washington and NATO-CIA-IMF-World bank wants for Ukraine, so Russia has nothing to do now just relax! let things go as nature is now in command. less intervention and hostility that you do more than Russia will gain. Ukraine is worse than before. and with the same oligarg's.. this Ukrainian upside down realm, however be prepare arm for any aggression from all side but do not attack anyone "defense only" as i said before all that NATO does against you will be inverted to your gains.

Carl 26.05.2014 11:18

1/2

What's to figure out? You guys keep trying to think in terms of right and wrong, legal and illegal. That's yesterday thinking.

It's about neo-cons carving up the globe and extracting wealth where ever they can. Plus they like crushing people for sport it makes them feel good and they like creating abstract poverty.

Evo Immorales 26.05.2014 05:59

Given that Kolomoisky has a private army, does this army comprise neo-Nazi Right Sector elements or other thugs that actually realize that K'y is Jewish? As many Jews tell me, Jews are their own worst enemies!

So if likes of Kolomoisky, backed by the USA which is buying up all Ukraine's land & industries, represents leading Jewish opinion in Nulandistan (Ukrainian rump state minus Crimea & east), no wonder it has nickname 'Land of Pogroms'.

Israel is worried by the maldevelopments in Ukraine; but will Right Sector & K'y's private army come to blows, & will former be blessed by bishop (traditional for pogromists)?

[May 26, 2014] Members of Congress to spend Memorial Day in Ukraine

While those guys did not take McCain with them ?

[May 25, 2014] Ukraine chooses the 'Chocolate King' Petro Poroshenko wins presidential election according to exit poll

The Independent

...The roads around Donetsk were empty. Despite the warm early summer weather, only a few heavy-goods lorries and rusty freight trains crossed the green fields and rivers that surround the city.

On Saturday, an Italian photojournalist, Andrea Rocchelli, and his Russian translator, Andrey Mironov, were killed near the town of Slovyansk, a separatist stronghold an hour's drive north of Donetsk. Yesterday, there were unconfirmed reports that another man had died in a shootout with Ukrainian security forces after armed militants made off with ballot papers from a polling station at Novoaydar, in the Luhansk region. Another man was reported wounded. But the incident seemed to be the only major violence on ballot day.

Election monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe had mostly left the area, saying that pro-Russian authorities were waging a campaign of "terror" against them.

It was widely hoped that the appointment of a legitimately elected new leader would go some way towards dampening tensions that have seen eastern Ukraine descend into increasingly bloody turmoil.The interim Prime Minister, Arseny Yatseniuk, said that a new president would help to shift the country from "a grey zone of lawlessness and dark forces… into a place where it is easier to breathe".

On Sunday night, President Barack Obama said the election was another step towards unifying the country, and that the US looked forward to working with its new president when the result was confirmed.

His Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, has said that he will respect the poll results. In recent days, Russian troops have started moving away from the Ukrainian border, calming fears of an imminent invasion. However, for many voters in the east, where there is still considerable nostalgia for the days of the Soviet Union, there is no particularly representative candidate.

In the sleepy town of Dmitrov, the elegantly shabby headquarters of the local "Palace of Culture" was being used to house polling station No 140,743. Posters of the 18 candidates were pinned to the walls and observers sat next to booths decorated with curtains in Ukraine's national colours of yellow and blue as voters occasionally came in to cast ballots. "We are against the war. We are against the Maidan," explained Vladimir Cevokoz, an engineer working as an election monitor. "We want negotiations to find a solution to this situation."

Asked which candidates might be able to end to the crisis, he cast his eyes down the list on the ballot despondently. "I don't know. I just don't know," he shrugged.

In neighboring Krasnoarmeisk, election officials said almost all of the town's 53 polling stations were open but turnout was low; by 2pm, only 10 per cent of registered voters had attended. "Many people don't see any suitable candidate for them and many people are afraid of attacks," explained Ruslan Tovschyk, the head of polling station No 141,082, housed in an office in the town's main square.

On Sunday, soldiers from the Ukrainian Dnieper Battalion and police were guarding the area in a phalanx of patrol cars. A gang of young men was sitting on a bench beside them. "Look how many people have voted. Compare this to the referendum," said one of them, who gave his name as Grigori, and described the crowds that had turned out to vote for autonomy in the region the fortnight before.

The men refused to say if they backed Kiev or Moscow, or favored autonomy. Perhaps, given the confusing mix of loyalties across the region, they were no longer certain what to believe. "The government and the oligarchs – it's all the same thing," said one, who gave his name as Artyom. "They are all part of the same criminal group."

[May 25, 2014] Ukraine From tragedy to farce by Peter Lavelle

The West has painted a picture of "decisive" elections but they were decisive only in West Ukraine and in Kiev. The main task for the West was to legitimize junta. That means that in thier "roadmap" this is an important stage, hence such nervousness, and all these suffering that Russia will not consider them legitimate. And threat of sanctions if elections are not recognized. Hence the key question for then - Will Putin recognize the election results?
I think that the goal of legitimizing junta was achieved. But Putin views the situation differently. For him there is no big difference who from two western puppets - crazy Timoshenko or this US puppet, chocolate rabbit Poroshenko come as a winner.
Whoever wins the election will have to deal with the ruined economy, an empty Treasury, a split of opinions in the country, high level of aggressiveness of far right gangs, heavy legacy of the "Maidan", filthy center of the capital, Odessa massacre and demands of Donbas miners. With the parallel collapse of the army.
And, from the Russian point of view - with the necessity to repay previous debts for gas, the need to pay for the current consumption and the need to spend on securing the future of gas transit to Europe. That means "Mission impossible". So this is not about "yes" or "no" to the election, the question of French female correspondent asked Putin. She was not able or willing to realize the fact that answers "Yes" or "no" does not matter much. Putin said "we will work with those who will come." As they did with junta.
For Poroshenko there is a lot fo work to do to reverse the damage of putsch and subsequent rampage of Provisional Government at the East. We will se if he up to the task.
RT Op-Edge

Washington's 'thinktankistan' and the west's media echo chamber are spinning Ukraine's May 25 election as the crowning moment legitimizing the western-backed coup overthrowing the elected government in Kiev.

They also spin Russian President Vladimir Putin has miscalculated in Ukraine and is trying to find a face-saving solution. Both spins are simply flat out wrong.

The creators of the Ukraine crisis are desperate. Victoria Nuland and her band of ultranationalists and neo-fascists demonstrated they could pull-off a successful coup. This is not remarkable in any sense. Staging coups around the globe has been part and parcel of American statecraft for decades; particularly since the end of the Cold War. But in the case of Ukraine almost everything that has happened since the illegal takeover of power on the night February 21 has been a disaster. Crimea voted to return to Russia, regions of the east have held referenda on self-determination, the massacre in Odessa occurred, and the country's economy is in a free fall. The planned presidential election is calculated to legitimize the coup and fast track Ukraine westward. It is not going to happen.

Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian oligarch known as the Chocolate King, is the presidential candidate who is expected to save Ukraine from the abyss and deliver his country to Washington, Brussels, and the IMF. Judging by polling numbers, he is quite likely to be elected by those who plan to vote (and millions in the east and south say they won't). Legally speaking, this election has no legitimacy. Ukraine's constitutional order was destroyed on the night of the coup. Since then the country has been governed by a rump parliament, political parties not supporting the undemocratic government physically attacked, and presidential candidates intimidated. Poroshenko is set to be president, but this will hardly address Ukraine's daunting problems.

Poroshenko's biggest political problems will not be the protesters in the east and south, nor will it be Russia. Ukraine's next president will have to immediately deal with what western governments and media are reluctant to talk about: the nature of the political forces currently running Ukraine. Poroshenko did back the protests on the Maidan, but not all protesters on the Maidan supported Poroshenko. It is doubtful groups like Right Sector and Svoboda will simply change or drop their ultranationalist and racist views to please an opportunist oligarch like Poroshenko. The most likely outcome is probably the following: either Poroshenko attempts to appease their leaders with the trappings of power and wealth (and dilute whatever power he will have as president), or he will have to guard against still another Maidan uprising backed by the likes of Right Sector and Svoboda. Neither outcome bodes well for Ukraine.

If Poroshenko continues the violent assault on the east and south he will demonstrate he is not president of all Ukrainians. But if he does reach out to the east and south, the radicals of the coup will be watching closely. Again, this is a lose-lose outcome for Ukraine. This is probably most tragic outcome of the forced collapse of the constitutional order – unelected radicals, racists, and ordinary thugs have been allowed to become important elements of the Ukrainian political landscape. Ukraine and the rest of the world have Washington to thank for this sad state of affairs. Let us now turn to Russia and the Kremlin's view of Ukraine. Putin is not backing down or looking for a way out. Far from it. Ever since this artificial crisis began, Russia has been watching – and it continues to watch. Putin's attitude regarding the May 25 presidential vote is one of indifference at best. Russia cannot stop the vote. But if Poroshenko can, somehow and in some way, prove himself as a leader of all the people, then Moscow has every interest in engaging the next Ukrainian president. But for reasons expressed above, this is hardly going to be the case.

In the west there is a strong belief in elections. However, elections are not always an expression of democracy. Ukraine's presidential election is first and foremost an exercise to legitimize Washington's illegal meddling in Ukraine's political and democratic process. It is doubtful this election will do anything to end Ukraine's crisis. In fact, it may make it worse.

Save this space: Ukraine's May 25 presidential election will go down in history as the starting date when the Maidan started (still again) to rise up against the new authorities in Kiev. As usual, Russia will be watching.

Peter Lavelle is host of RT's political debate program 'CrossTalk' and monthly business program 'On the Money.' His views are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

Regula 25.05.2014 13:13

Putin is doing the right thing: to distance himself from the mess in Ukraine and let them vote. It is obvious that the vote and new president will not bring peace overnight if at all. The turmoil in Ukraine will likely go on for years. More likely than not, Ukraine will split into two countries. By pulling back to show in all clarity that Russia isn't intervening in any way in Ukraine, Russia can preserve a neutral position. The split will have been caused solely by Kiev. That will prevent another world war, which is in Russia's interest as well as in that of Ukraine and the EU.

paradigm-respawn 25.05.2014 10:48

Ukraine Faces the Dilemma of Several Failed Revolutions

Kiev has been Forced to use Pravy Sektor in a Attempt to re-unite Ukraine yet is unable to do so since they Demonize Russian-Speakers in the South and East. -The Current Disaster

karl luck 25.05.2014 07:16

Somewhere in between the many decades of wars and 'democracy' building, which were all complete failures, a constant result appeared in these destroyed countries. Complete destruction and chaos! I am sure that Zion Nuland Inc thought that they could 'pull it off', like all the times before. But instead of owning it, they have destroyed it. Through their endless failures and bungling, they have come to accept the complete dismantling and destruction of sovereign states, they have caused, as a success.

RockyRacoon 24.05.2014 18:50

IMF is demanding the south south east be a part of any economic help. This can only be achieved by force. The IMF once again is the greatest problem here. The cancellation of ODIOUS DEBT is a legal remedy to this conditionality.

Raven Light 24.05.2014 18:40

The argument for splitting Ukraine is that this would merely establish de jure a situation that already exists de facto, because Ukraine is deeply divided by its cultural identity/language differences. It would also supposedly settle tensions between the West and Russia because Moscow would get what it wanted and would not venture further. With Ukraine split into two, its western part could eventually move closer towards Europe while its Russian-speaking East and South would establish a state allied closely with Russia. This solution, the argument goes, would best reflect the preferences of the local population. ~*~

Fredrick Da Great 24.05.2014 18:26

Ukraine: From tragedy to farce and from farce back to another tragedy . The only happy end of this story I see is Novorossia living along with Novoukraina as brothers. A separation is the firs step to reconciliation between the two young states.

[May 25, 2014] 'Chocolate king' expected to secure 56% of vote

Two exit pools gave victory to Chocolate Rabbit, the compromise candidate approved by the USA and Germany. Quote: "Interesting. One of the Maidan demands was no more oligarchs, if I'm not mistaken. Three months passed, an oligarch is seen as the best solution. "
The Guardian

vinylstellen

Could give a whole new meaning to chocolate fireguard.

ocixem2 -> vinylstellen

Indeed. Is the chocolate king the long awaited messiah who will deliver Ukrainians to their EU paradise?

Or is he just another Pharaoh who will not let them go?

vinylstellen -> ocixem2

Pharaoh Rocher

Rinnero

The oligarch is dead, long live the oligarch!

ocixem2 -> Rinnero

From the Victoria Nuland yell team:

"Oligarchs! Oligarchs! Oligarchs!

Ikonoclast

So joining NATO is off the menu? Meaning the NATO inspired coup has ultimately failed and 'normal' relations with Russia can be restored?

Beckow -> Ikonoclast

It will be back, like a zombie. US and its defense contractors desperately want Ukraine in NATO. If it takes one more "revolution", well, there will be one more.

And this: "take steps toward visa-free travel to EU". Poroshenko basically run on "visas to EU", it was one of his main promises. Is EU going to oblige? They didn't with Yushenko (his presidency collapsed), with Yanokovich (overthrown), will they do it for Poroshenko?

The two issues that are driving Ukraine's crisis are: visa-free travel to EU domestically, and a push to get them in NATO in foreign affairs. Unless those two get resolved, there will more trouble.... Give them the f...ing visas, let them come to EU, nothing else will calm the situation.

And if Ukraine gets visa-free travel, I expect half of Middle East, Northern Africa, and even Russia staging their own "revolutions" for the right to emigrate to EU. That's the problem with making promises....

LeDingue -> Ikonoclast

The CIA will no doubt be very disappointed that their plans for Crimea came to nothing. They'll take the partial victory of creating some factional violence on Russia's border and their anti-Russian propaganda tsunami has been quite effective.
It's almost funny how many posters here are proud of their newly discovered dexterity in bandying about words like "Stalin... Hitler... anschluss... Sudetenland... Russian adventurism" etc rattling off chapter and verse about Yanukovych fleeing and the new "elected" government who definitely don't contain fascists.... (and of course the schoolyard kids going on about "putinbots" as if responding to a whistle). A taxi driver recently commented to me that the threat of Russia invading Europe seemed to have dissipated...!

The CIA will take the propaganda victory, no doubt pleased how all the media control and internet "cognitive infiltration" worked as planned.

They're in this for the long haul and no doubt will already be seeding destabilisation in Moldova and Georgia (again). This year's NATO "Rapid Trident" Ukraine military exercises will be interesting...

Alice Ponomareva -> Ahhbisto

Since slapping Moscow or burning muscovites - is their favourite past time. and work objectives :o) (when not jumping) I'd say Ukraine is entitled. Exactly as Russia is to reply.

LeDingue -> Ahhbisto

The Kremlin has just received a huge slap in the face. This seems to be "phrase of the day" for pro-Nato avatars.

In what way has anything that's happened in Ukraine, and I mean anything, been negative for Russia? The CIA completely failed to hinder, let alone render inoperable, the Russian Crimean military bases.

So what have the US achieved exactly? The propaganda war? Making Russia the new bogey-man for US-UK pro-Nato media? Apart from a lot of name calling I don't think the Ukraine regime change operation could really be hailed as a "slap in the face". Sounds like more scripted "bullhorn" to me.

Scipio1

Does anyone really believe that Mr P. will be making policy in the Ukraine even if he wanted to? Ms Nuland really let the cat out of the bag when she determined who was, and who was not, going to be in the interim government. Of course we ought to know by now that the US State Department is going to determine Ukraine's future, jointly with the EU and the IMF.

I think that the fact that the Ukraine has lost all claim to national sovereignty when it signed up to the EU and sought to cuddle up to the US that its days both as an integrated and sovereign state were over. It is just a matter of time before the penny drops.

HogfartsAcademy -> MMGALIAS

The Kremlin wont be happy.

They won't be in tears either. Russia now has Crimea as a result of the US-instigated fascist coup in Kiev.

Poroshenko is now making conciliatory noises towards Russia mindful of the immense damage US meddling has done to his country.

JelliedEelVC

Dorogoi Volya, Initially I supported the putsch that rid Kiev of the former regime, one hoped the revolution could be exported to Westminster. Now we see that the new boss is the same as the old boss, and propped up by Massah in Washington. That said, you liberated Lugansk and Donetsk, please keep coming and march down Whitehall. Our only chance.

Ishowerdaily

A choice of billionaires, fascists in the government who will still be on government regardless of the result and ad-hoc ideological militias shelling towns that the normal military refused to.

It's democracy Jim but not as we know it.

carlygirl

It cracks me up that they've elected yet another Russian err Ukrainian Oligarch who looks quite remarkably like a Russian Oligarch I'm sure he'll have the best interests of the minions at heart.

Ten bucks says he sells out his comrades within a year for yet more billions from the West.

EbbTide64 -> Addicks123

Apart from the 11 Ukrainian soldiers who were ambushed and killed by "Prp-Russian Separatists" who seemed to have been rather well armed and trained for such an operation.

The Yatsenyuk regime have had to employ Right Sector neo-Nazi thugs in the National Guard, because huge chunks of the Ukrainian armed forces have defected and now oppose the Kiev regime. They are Russian speaking Ukrainians who were in the Ukrainian armed forces and who are well armed with Ukrainian armed forces weapons.
Why is it so difficult to believe that a decent amount of Ukrainian people are pro-Russian, when by far the biggest party at the last Parliamentary elections was the pro-Russian Party Of regions?

VladimirM

Interesting. One of the maidan demands was no more oligarchs, if I'm not mistaken. Three months passed, an oligarch is seen as the best solution.
What will happen in the next three months?

Was she expecting a different result?

Southerncross

May 25, 2014 at 3:11 pm

kirill

May 25, 2014 at 4:10 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rgu8boIALA

Southerncross May 25, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Haha! It even comes with her portrait…

Was she expecting a different result?

http://kp.ua/politics/454287-yavka-yzbyratelei-na-vyborakh-prezydenta-sostavyla-60-protsentov

Kharkov, Kherson and Odessa less than 50% turnout, so not very much patriotic vote there.

Waiting for real votes and nulls.

Only Dnepropetrovsk (55%), with "high" turnout. Nikolaev and Zaporiziya only 52%

EDIT: abstention = anti kiev junta; not ukraine nationalist, as this was historic and patriotic elections.

[ThatJ: that's a disappointing turnout. Add the massive fraud that went on and the real results are an even bigger disappointment, from Kiev's perspective]

[May 24, 2014] Ukraine: Major "Western" Think Tank Admits Defeat

http://www.moonofalabama.org/

There is simply no viable alternative for Ukraine than to cooperate with Russia and to pay the price that is necessary to do so. That is why Russia is just sitting back and waiting for that simple truth to become evident.

Back in February we said:

Putin will now sit back and let the "west" squabble about who will throw tons of money into the bottomless pit that Ukraine is going to become. ... Putin now just has to wait for the apple to fall from the tree.

In March:

To the growing unrest one can add the likely economic collapse that will come rather sooner than later. Any "western" help will be conditioned on austerity and impoverishing the people as well as on political reform that the oligarchs and the current politicians will not allow to happen. Under such condition further unrest is a given while Ukraine falls apart and there is no need at all for Russia to intervene to achieve such.

Russia will do nothing nefarious, it will do just nothing. Russia will not help, neither economically nor politically, unless Kiev and the "west" are willing to pay its price: A federalized Ukraine with strong regions and a weak central government.

Two month later this truth finally dawns to the mediocre thinkers in those "western" misnomed tanks. The Brookings Institute, which in general supports Obama policies, finally admits that a Ukraine without Russia is impossible and therefore cooperation with Russia on Ukraine is the Only viable way forward. It all comes back to money. The loss of access to Russian markets is already hitting and will kill Ukraine's heavy and weapon industry in east Ukraine. That will be expensive:

[A] minimum estimate is $276 billion to buy off the east. It is unthinkable that the West would pay this amount.
...
The key point here is that there can be no viable Ukraine without serious contributions from both Russia and the West. Of all the options for Ukraine's future, a Ukraine exclusively in the West is the least feasible. A Ukraine fully under Russian control and with severed links to the West is, unfortunately, possible.

A Ukraine in the "west" is impossible. A Ukraine within the Russian Federation is possible but would somewhat hurt Russia at lest in the short term. A finlandized Unkraine, in which Russia has a major say is the best possible outcome for all sides.

The upcoming sham elections of the chocolate king Poroshenko over which Russia has major sway -his markets and some of his factories are in Russia- is now just a fig leaf for the "west" to disengage. Poroshenko will be send eastward to pledge allegiance to Russia and to sign the unconditional surrender treaty. He has to:

[H]ving normal relations with Russia is a natural position for Ukraine which fits her strategic interests. For this basic reason, Ukrainian politicians haven't the slightest chance of ignoring their past, present, or future ties with Russia, regardless of the fact that they are talking about it.

He will then have to suppress the nazis in the west Ukraine. The political part of the EU Association Agreement, which the coup government signed, will be revoked and the economic part will not be signed at all.

All this now seems to turn into a major defeat for the neo-cons who completely misjudged the situation:

Strategists in the US may not have foreseen that, because of the very delicate domestic equilibrium of so many difference forces and actors, the Ukrainian state may have simply disintegrated in the face of a drastic geopolitical turn, as it is indeed happening.
...
The US finds itself once again in the awkward position of having decisively contributed to the insurgence of a certain critical phase [...] where however the partners and allies on the ground [...] are successively abandoned at the decisive moment ..

The neocons had planned this attack on Russia via Ukraine and Crimea and they, again, failed. That does not mean that the issue is over. In sight of defeat the neocons love to "surge" and to escalate the situation. But as seen in Iraq and Afghanistan such "surges" are unlikely to change the inevitable outcomes.

plantman

Putin holds all the cards.

That doesn't mean the provocations and false flags won't continue. They probably will. But Putin is definitely in the catbird seat.

b's post suggests that there is a significant split between ruling elites in the US. That split will probably appear in the newspapers, like the NYT, which will start publishing opposing points of view to the current policy. That'll be the first sign that the end is near, that the smarter elites are throwing in the towel. The old guard elites were probably skeptical about this wacky plan from the very beginning. After all, the neocons are unreliable cowboys with a dismal track record. This could really hurt them in the long term. It could be the end of the road for Nuland and Co.

My own impression is that the neocons, led by V Nuland, improvised much of what happened after Yanuchovytch agreed to the terms of the original deal. That's when she panicked and put the coup-plan into motion, snipers and all. It was all very messy and poorly planned. The woman's an incompetent moron.

Couldn't they see that Ukraine would fall apart??? Don't they think about stuff like that at the State Dept or do they just shoot first and ask questions later?

So then they figure the only way forward is to escalate, to draw Putin over the border so they can blame the mess on him and turn the country into a major battleground. But then something unexpected happens: Putin refuses to fall into their trap. The one thing they were all sure of was that Putin would react the same way he did when Georgia invaded South Ossetia. They figured he'd send in the tanks. But Putin out foxed them all and didn't take the bait.

I'm quite sure that everyone up the US chain of command and all their Harvard educated advisors, figured Putin would do what he did before. But he kept his cool and left them to wallow in the mess they'd created.

Just imagine what Ukraine's going to look like a year from now. People in Crimea will be living the good life under Putin's protection and the rest of Ukraine will be a broken, bankrupt, divided, failed state ruled by ex-central bankers, Nazis and American spooks.

And who do you think the people in the EU will blame for the catastrophe:
Putin or Obama?

I'll bet they blame Obama.

plantman

I suspect the flap in Ukraine has more to do with Azerbaijan than Ukraine. Europe is facing huge catastrophe if it can't secure more energy for the future. The US oil giants (Yes, Cheney is involved) want to transport energy from the Caspian basin to S Europe to meet the EUs growing demand. They figure if they control the energy, they control Europe. So, this is about power as well as money.

Russia's Southstream looked like the winner in the Caspian Basin sweepstakes, but the Ukraine crisis puts that at risk. If Putin had charged in guns blazing, Southstream would have been toast. But--as of today--it is still set to deliver sometime in 2018. (although Obama will definitely try to throw a wrench in the deal)

The US oil companies need something big to get them back in the game. Odessa didn't work and this latest fiasco (shooting their own troops so they could blame anti-coup activists) just shows how desperate they're getting.

Something BIG is coming. They're running out of time, things are getting worse, and the politics are shifting in Putin's favor.

The Neocons don't give up easily. They're going to do something reckless and unexpected. Something BIG.

They're not ready to give up yet.

Jeff Kaye

"Post-WWII Ukraine saw the struggle of anti-Soviet partisans in the West until the early 1950s, but also a large scale economic reconstruction."

What the LSE article fails to mention is that this post-WWII "struggle" was largely financed and run by the CIA. Don't take my word for it. Chapter Five of the recently published National Archives book, "Hitler's Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence and the Cold War," contains some of these details. URL is http://www.archives.gov/iwg/reports/hitlers-shadow.pdf

See also this 1986 Village Voice article by Joe Conason: http://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/essays/conasoncatchnazi86.pdf

May 24, 2014 2:59:21 PM | 20

JSorrentine

Lastly:

Ukraine is what the 50th? 60th? consecutive and successful - meaning there will be zero repercussions for the US elite - overt ousting of the ruler/government of a sovereign nation by the American war criminal elite and there are people here who think that Ukraine signals the demise/downfall/backtracking of the US? By what metric?

There is ZERO cry for the return of the democratically elected Ukrainian government in the Western world.

There is ZERO cry for any action to make the US be subject to some sort of penalty or review.

Even worse the "Putler" meme is now so commonplace/ubiquitous in the West - thanks again, Hillary and Prince C! - that one can see that the Cold War: Part Deux narrative has been successfully rolled out - gee, it sure seems that whenever TPTB roll-out a new narrative they go big, huh? Georgia? Belarus? Fuck that, bitches! - and that now NO ONE in the US can/will dare attempt to stand in the way of any increase in military/defense spending to thwart Putler's latest dastardly deed.

Yeah, I'm sure the CIA et al would only create false flags that can be blamed on crazy Muslims, right? Wink.

Maybe this Ukraine business all was a necon plot originally but EVERYONE in the US Establishment has fallen in line behind the new narrative in some aspect. TO A PERSON.

From where I'm standing the US has successfully 1) brought real chaos to Russia's borders 2) rolled out their new narrative for the politicians, media whores, capitalists and military to operate under and 3) avoided prosecution/justice once again.

Nothing's yet been rolled back and actually the chaos of Empire has been extended into new "markets" in which it wasn't overtly present before. What's not to like?

Competing/fighting against ragtag MUSLIMS could only work for so long anyways, right guys and gals? Sorry to all those victims - sorry, "terrorists" - caught in the US intel entrapment stings over the years and who are rotting in US prisons for the rest of their lives. You guys were great but The Show must go on!

Aside: Why, the Tsarnevs could almost be seen - from a common US imbecile citizen POV - as "bridge" patsies connecting the two narratives - i.e., the GWOT and Cold War:Part Deux, huh? Mabel, weren't those Boston Bombers like Russian or sumpthin'? Fucking Putler.

What next? If I'm a war criminal US elite member, I just keep stirring up shit in the Ukraine on the cheap - for YEARS if need be - on the military/political/social fronts in hopes of provoking Putin all the while just waiting and waiting until something happens that provides the opening needed for furtherance of the plan. I hope Putler doesn't plan on retiring any time soon.

Oh, yeah, I forgot, we needn't worry about any of this shit because obviously the US dollar is going to collapse, the polar ice caps are going to melt, the American Civil War: Part Deux is right around the corner and a host of other fantastical scenarios are on the brink of occurring all of which will peacefully provide the world with a needed respite from continued US war criminality.

My bad.

scalawag
"Poroshenko will be send eastward to pledge allegiance to Russia and to sign the unconditional surrender treaty."

Doubtful. The west may have him offer a few cookies to the Russians, though, as a distraction.

"It all comes back to money."
"The key point here is that there can be no viable Ukraine without serious contributions from both Russia and the West."

I seriously doubt the western fascists have thrown in the towel. What I think is the west may be shifting gears. The western attempt to sucker Russia into invading the Ukraine using terrorism against the people of eastern Ukraine isn't working. It sounds like the western banksters want to scam Russia into paying for the western havoc wrought on the Ukraine, but probably without offering them any sort of real "collateral" for their "investment". Perhaps it's just a ploy to influence Russia with regard to the "Choco King's" holdings in Russia, and prevent their "nationalization", or that of the other western aligned Ukrainian oligarchs.

If the west pulls their terrorists out of the east and sacks the mercs, then I'll believe they might be actually backing off and be willing to forgo their strategy of using Ukraine as a way to weaken Russia.Posted by:

VietnamVet

b Your analysis is balanced and thoughtful.

The novels "The Great Gatsby" and "The Quiet American" are portraits of Americans' as naïve innocents who leave destruction in their wake; clueless of the damage they've done. An online movie review of the remake of "The Quiet American" said 'Oh, Greene clearly communicated the rotten roots of American involvement in Vietnam 50 years ago, and nobody cared then either.'

What is remarkable is how corruption and propaganda has seized the United States of America. ULA is the sole source military space launcher for the US Air Force. The rocket engines are made in Russia. Russia has prohibited their use in military rockets. It is a prime example of buddy capitalism that gets a few people rich and guts national security, all at the same time. It has not been mentioned in corporate media. Meanwhile, PBS had an interview last night with the head of security for the Ukraine Junta last who blamed all of Ukraine's problems on Vladimir Putin. There was no mention of USA and EU involvement in the coup or the ultra-nationalist anti-Russian beliefs of the Putsch.

In the previous post there was a good discussion of trying to determine who attacked the Ukraine Army position. This is important because it was a clear attempt to prod the Ukraine Army into attempting to pacify the Russian majority speaking provinces and escalate the intensity of the civil war.

It is clear that the Western Elite are spending money to gain access to Ukraine. Unless a neutral Finlandized Ukraine is agreed to right now, Ukraine will split apart in a bloody religious civil war that likely would draw NATO and Russia into a shooting war. So a few wealthy families can get richer, the Ukrainians are relegated to hell, Europeans may face a freezing winter, and all of mankind has a significantly increased chance of mass extinction.

somebody

Posted by: Alexno | May 24, 2014 4:41:53 PM | 34

I don't see the conflict ending any time soon either.

Poroshenko will not be able even if willing to stop this idea of uniting Ukraine

Ukraine's Yugoslavia moment came the day after the 22 February coup when the Rada voted to abolish the Russian language at every level of government. The mainstream media casually dismissed this act as meaningless because it occurred in the 'heat of revolution'. This is false. When the barbarians storm the gates and there are 100 fires burning, what they choose to do first tells you of their priorities.

Ukraine's new European overlords saw the Russian language as a bigger problem than their country's skyrocketing debt-to-GDP ratio, rampant corruption and fertility rates which happen to be among the lowest-of-low in the world.

Ukraine in its historic understanding as a safe place where different people can live together is dead. Ukraine as a Ukrainian State or Ukrainian Derzhava is the now. Its ethos is similar to what far-right politicians like Ruža Tomašić call for where "Croatia is for Croats and everyone else is a guest"

and this

As Ukrainians prepare for snap presidential elections Sunday, the biggest question is less who will win than how much of the country they will have left to govern...

Nonetheless, the lack of a coherent, organized mass separatist movement has arguably been the biggest problem for Kiev's central government, which instead has to deal with a sprawling, shifting morass of sporadic violence it seems unable to contain. Roman Svitan, a security advisor to Kiev-appointed Donetsk governor Sergei Taruta, estimates there are between 1,500 and 2,500 different armed groups active in the province, their membership ranging from one to 200 and their number changing multiple times every single day. "I can't even tell you how things are - in two hours it'll be completely different," he said...

The eventual victor will also still have to make do with Ukraine's underfunded, poorly equipped armed forces, who are suffering increased losses in bloody battles with militia. Their failure to dislodge the rebels has seen numerous pro-Kiev groups spawn and carry out unsanctioned vigilante attacks.

No matter what Poroshenko does, he depends on a rump parliament (Ukraine returned to the 2004 constitution that restricts presidential powers) that is bent on Ukrainian unity by language and culture not by diversity thereby de facto excluding large parts of the population, he lacks any military power of his own, and he is faced by armed groups that have to be negotiated with one by one.

scalawag

Posted by: PuppetMaster | May 24, 2014 6:02:46 PM | 50

Darth Vader, you say?

GRTV: Propaganda and the Ukraine Crisis

"This full length GRTV documentary produced by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya examines the fictitious land of "Nulandistan" (named after Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland) that has been constructed out of Ukraine.

It depicts how the realities of crimes against humanity and political oppression involving terrorist mobs are casually replaced by a World of fiction, in which real "Western style democracy" prevails.

It deconstructs the rhetoric and propaganda of the Obama Administration and its European allies regarding the crisis in Ukraine and takes a look at their growing frustration towards the Russian media, particularly RT, for challenging their account of events on the ground in what they have declared is an intensifying "information war".

The documentary starts with an examination of the EuroMaidan protests that both Washington and the Western media have used to justify the instatement of an unelected self-proclaimed regime in Kiev.

The May 2 Odessa Massacre and the political protest movement leading up to the referendums in Donesk and Luhansk in East Ukraine are reviewed.

The underlying focus is to show how the reality of events in Ukraine has been been misappropriated and propagandized to support US foreign policy and to justify tensions against Russia."

bevin

The great advantage people like ourselves, sceptics, critics of capitalism, enemies of imperialism (for such I take most of us who gather here to be) have, over those who defend the system, the think tankers, MSM pundits and the plump whores of Academic life, is that we think for ourselves. We base our opinions on observation.
We look at the world and analyse what we see.
The conformists, who defend the system not out of conviction but in order to live prosperously, win promotion and the respect of the powerful, are not encouraged to think beyond the narrow parameters of what is permitted. Thus it is that, hidebound by ideology, they tend to drift further and further away from reality until their policy prescriptions become suicidal and the Empire that they worship, for fun and profit, collapses ignominiously into puddles of blood soaked, worthless paper.
To be specific: the neo-cons, reviving the policies of the old British empire, using gunboat diplomacy (which is no diplomacy at all) to keep the natives in order, policing the sea lanes and controlling international trade and finance, employing modern equivalents of the Royal Navy and the City of London, are a century out of date. The world that they excelled in understanding, Admiral Mahan's world, the world of maritime empires based on sea power and international trade across the oceans, is rapidly passing.
No wonder they double up-also at the behest of the billionaire oligarchs whose arses they lick-as climate change deniers. The rapid disappearance of polar ice presages a rise in sea levels which will put most modern ports out of business. And reduce the power of navies to nothing more than that of expensive, unstable rusting platforms for missiles pointed inland. The days of gunboat diplomacy are disappearing however not because of global warming but because, as the recent Sino-Russian gas deal showed, the main trading routes are no longer sea lanes but cross continental roads.
The old Empire, which became powerful because it stood astride the sea routes, and maintained its power by controlling trade and finance, is becoming peripheral. Islands, such as Britain and America are no longer secure but out of the way.
But such things, simple enough for us who have no investment in the Empire and therefore see it without illusions, are beyond the understanding of the conventional, the conformists, the Brookings Institution and the high foreheads who labour in the ideology factories of the Universities and the media. In their world the Great White Father or Queen Victoria always rules and nothing really changes.
If the US State Department wishes to take over Ukraine it will do so. Because it always prevails in the end. If the US Department of Finance wishes to bring Russia to heel, it will do so because it always does.
Or so at least it tells us: in fact it rarely does. It failed to make Iran submit. Its writs are still ignored in North Korea. China, where politeness in an ancient art, finds it harder every week to stifle a yawn or suppress a laugh when the US issues another threat. Successive and ruinously expensive military expeditions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, across south east Asia, throughout Africa have left mountains of corpses and piles of rust and rubble, cancer wards full of victims and generations of implacable disdain for their authors but nothing tangible. Nothing in the way of reward, just long term expenses only sustainable so long as the dollar maintains its reserve status. And that is wholly dependent on the goodwill and self interest of Asian banks.
As the US has fought wars, since 1945, China has elevated itself, entirely by its own efforts, from the depths of poverty and defeat. It is, once more, as it was until the 1880s and had been for the previous two millennia, the most powerful economy in the world, lacking only those armaments necessary to gunboat diplomacy, in which the US swims, vast stocks of weapons without purpose, obsolete since the H bomb was invented and useful only to destroy capital. Which China has no desire to do, because it has a perspective of future life, development and coming to grips with real problems.
Whereas the Empire is dying, blind and deluded, drugged by self regard and hypnotised by a past which it never understood because it used to be powerful enough to ignore reality and comfort itself with its racist myths.
If the real issue of the future is that of the 1% against the 99%, the issue of the present is to dispose of the nonsense that the 6% of the world's who are the United States can continue to insist that the 94%, the masses of Asia, Africa and what was called the Third World-including the hundreds of millions newly recruited by shock therapists trained in Harvard, from the Second World-live lives which are nasty brutish and short simply in order to keep the "west" in the style to which it has grown accustomed.
The importance of "b"'s post is that it reminds us how weak the Empire is and how vulnerable it is to sustained criticism. It is not just that it can no longer control events in the world-in which it has only the power to destroy and kill- but that this is becoming so evident that its own subjects, on whose support, loyal patriotism and, ultimately, apathetic resignation it relies for continued existence, are getting very close to revolting, as the bargains that they made, as the price of their loyalty- rising living standards, full employment, old age security, educational opportunities to social mobility and access to healthcare and other social services- are dishonoured in this age of Detroit.

LolWut?

There is simply no viable alternative for Ukraine than to cooperate with Russia and to pay the price that is necessary to do so. That is why Russia is just sitting back and waiting for that simple truth to become evident.

while the Great North American Professor of Clueless-osity is busy preening about in front of the mirror praising himself (***) for his apparently wonderful wonderful abilities to think for himself (###) and while b's fawning mob of acolytes praise him for his apparently astute analysis, Id just like to take the opportunity to point out that when the Ukrainians are dying in large numbers from hypothermia this coming Winter, as they most assuredly will without a Gas Supply to heat their homes,
Imagine the headlines . . . "Mr Putin, Turn on the Gas" (with it's somewhat ironic holocausty connotations) , "Putin's Barbaric Russia Freezes sweet old Ukrainian Grannies to death" etc etc

when those large numbers of Ukrainians are freezing to death, it is Russia that will be blamed by most of the World's Media.

Not Yats.
Not Obomber.
Not Nuland.
Not Kerry.
Not Merkel.
Not Neo-Nazis.
Not even Banderistas.

So when the host states that there is "simply no viable alternative" other than to co-operate with Russia, he is showing that he really hasn't understood the situation at all.

"The Chaos" IS "The Win!" - the non-co-operation of Ukraine with Russia IS the Win!

This should by now be crystal clear to anyone who even pretends to know what is going on.

IF this continues the host will soon be talking about Schwerpunkt's again, and declaring imminent complete defeat of of the NATO-proxies being visible . . . honest . . just over the next hill

Last time I remember him using that phrase was July 2012, and well, . . . . .
How'd that work out last time?

here we are End of May 2014, and I hate to burst the bubble of all you magnificent self-declared "self thinkers" but the Western created Islamo-Nutters in Syria, while certainly having suffered some setbacks, are still far from gone.

Now no doubt the magnificent "self thinkers" referenced by the Great North American Professor will waste no time at all telling me I'm talking nonsense, and engaging in there usual hilarious bouts of self-righteous clueless apoplexy, and will use the recent "truce" that has apparently been declared somewhere around the Syrian city of Homs, if Western Media reports are to be believed (which, I admit, they rarely are) as some sort of evidence that the NATO-Proxies in Syria have been completely defeated.

Well I'd just like to point out that "truce" has a very different meaning than "complete defeat"

So I'm more than just a little bit sceptical myself.

But unlike the Great North American Professor, I'm sceptical of just how well-deserved is this pedestal you lot seem intent on placing the host (and by extension, yourselves) upon.

Now after watching Libya, Syria and now Ukraine, that you lot STILL don't get what is going on, is frankly embarrassing to watch.


======

*** (what is it they say about "self-praise" again? I've forgotten. perhaps some of the truly magnificent 'self thinkers', that the Great Professor himself has assured us populate these comment threads, could remind me of the wording of that old saying)

### (not something I can say I have seen a lot of, from from the Great North American Professor, but obviously he is far far more clever and far far more perceptive than one such as I, and can see himself reflected in his mirror far far more clearly than mere mortals such as myself)

neretva'43

Interesting perspective of "the 130th richest Jew in the world" - Petro Poroshenko.

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/05/24/weapons-prostitutes-drugs-things-poroshenko-associated-with.html

No matter how few people may take part in the Ukraine's presidential election on Sunday, the outcome is known in advance – Petro Poroshenko, the US favorite rote son, will be declared the winner of the race. The result will further split the country. Many regions refuse to recognize as President this chocolate king who is notorious for pocketing government money. Poroshenko has no chance to stop the bloody conflict even scrupulously carrying out all the orders given by Joe Biden, Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt. Besides, the mission of putting an end to bloodshed has never been set by his US bosses…

Again, as it was in the case of Palestine, the Zionism is an iron fist of Imperialism and willing one at that. This time in Ukraine. Social engineering that favorite tool of liberal (international) oligarchy have made that the richest individual of Ukraine are Jews who comprise 0.2% (ZERO POINT TWO) of total population. And yet THEY control everything. Nothing happens in politics by accident nor those people are result of their entrepreneurial spirit and hard work. There is recipe behind their "success". Moscow had managed to get rid of them but Ukraine, exemplar of client state, is at mercy of various NGOs such as Soros who bring up those people.

This is anything but normal and I believe that majority of population is sick of both sides - population which have found themselves in crosswind of oligarchical forces from three sides: West, domestic one, and Moscow.

"The dissatisfaction with the oligarchs in the Donbass and Luhansk is great," Shmelyov said. They are to blame for much of the suffering of local workers. "Social anger is growing, and this will lead to a conflict between the population and the owners of factories and mines." And that in turn may lead the new powers to nationalize those facilities.

Consequently, what we are seeing, he continued, "is not only the increasing collapse of Ukrainian statehood and the sharpening of regional conflicts in Ukraine. We are seeking the destruction of that liberal-oligarchic model of social-economic development on which Ukraine had been developing in recent years."

Aleksandr Shatilov, a sociologist at Moscow's Finance University, agreed, adding only that the tensions between workers and owners were growing not just in eastern Ukraine but throughout the country. He predicted that it was quite likely that there would be "a war not only against Kyiv but also against the Ukrainian oligarchs."

But there is a danger to Moscow too.

It is certainly true that the passions of the miners and workers in eastern Ukraine could at least in the short term help Moscow to further undermine Kyiv. But their attacks on the oligarchs as a group simultaneously pose a threat to the Kremlin because they strike at the basis of the power of Vladimir Putin's regime in Russia.
neretva'43

The question is why? Why do countries such as China, Brazil and Iran, which have been subjected to economic and geopolitical bullying by the US, refrain from unambiguously stating that the acting regime in Ukraine was brought to power by the United States and its European allies, and has therefore no legitimacy to rule, or hold elections?

The answer, in a nutshell, is class: in dealing with the imperial polices of Western powers, these countries (like Russia itself) are hamstrung by their own oligarchs. Like Russian oligarchs, the financial elites in these countries have closer affinity with their class counterparts in the West than with their fellow citizens at home. To these folks, issues such as national sovereignty and social justice are secondary to "peaceful" co-existence in a neoliberal world order led by the US. Consciously or instinctively, they perceive cross-border alliances (or hostilities) more as inter-class than international.

ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/16/putin-blinks-in-ukraine-standoff-with-the-us/

Demian

@scalawag #53:

Very nice documentary. All Wikipedia editors who work on articles about the Ukraine crisis should read it lol.

I have three main responses:

1. It's very hard to see how southeast Ukraine can remain part of the experimental Ukraine state, after all that has happened. Clearly, the project to create a Ukrainian state has failed.

2. I never watch Obama, so I had forgotten what he is like when he talks. He acts like a person who has still not gotten over selling his sole to the devil, and the fact that he is going to spend eternity in hell constantly hangs over him. (Sorry to sound like someone from the Saker.)

3. I would like to get my hands on that trance song about Putin.

scalawag

ANNA says what happened.

США агентству ANNA-news: "Ваш аккаунт (newsanna на YouTube) отключен навсегда"

Yandex translation.

"The U.S. Agency ANNA-news: "Your account (newsanna on YouTube) disabled forever"

"On the evening of may 24, 2014, for 10 hours before illegitimate elections of the President of Ukraine, the American Directorate YouTube without warning "disabled forever" was created three years ago the account newsanna information Agency "Anna-news", destroying all our original video and a list of over one hundred thousand real subscribers. Half an hour before this unprecedented act Directorate was removed movie Slavyansk. Night. Shell hit people / Slavyansk. Night. A shell hit the people" with the wording "members of the YouTube community noted one of your videos as inappropriate. Your account got one warning in connection with the violation of community guidelines. A warning will be valid for six months."

We fully agree that beat from the guns peaceful sleeping residents Slavyansk - is unacceptable. This is fascism, what is said in the movie "night of shelling Slavyansk fascist junta".

An unprecedented event in the journalistic community, since by the time of the destruction of the channel, our international information Agency, the third year being the recognized leader on the front subject, held at the official ratings first place also in category "Power", 4-th category "State and Society", honorary 44-th place among all 5 thousand Russian-speaking world news media and 126-th place among all 170 thousand major global Russian-speaking Internet resources. Only in the YouTube audience of subscribers has exceeded 100 thousand people. Viral distribution network has provided a multi-million dollar views of our materials.

But the injury and subsequent murder by fascist junta Italian journalist Andrea Rochelle and his interpreter Andrei Mironov, whose voices are heard at the most scandalous record of someone from the powerful forced to push the decision to destroy our channel scheme "ends in the water."

As already wrote my colleagues, this is not the first attempt of the officials of the USA and Ukraine to prevent our work due to objective coverage of the Ukrainian events.

Counting on the support of colleagues. Cm. our materials in: yandex http://video.yandex.ru/users/anna-news-agency/ on Youtube anna.news.agency."

Translation sketchy - sorry. The video is an audio recording of the mortar strike that killed 2 foreign journalists and wounded several other people, including another journalist saturday in Slavyansk. Youtube killed ANNA's account 1/2 hour after deleting that video of the mortar attack. I hope ANNA maintained their own archive of their work that they can reupload to another site, and that they do this. And not rely upon another youtube account. Youtube is fucked up the ass, the fascists there have deleted videos and accounts often that exposed Israeli atrocities and criminality and critical material of American and Euro fascism, criminality and atrocities. People use the scum because of their audience reach, but they constantly risk losing it all because of the censorship.

I've been saying this for years, don't rely upon those disgusting sods. Use other venues. Both Dailymotion and Vimeo in the west are less censored by Israeli and American fascists, and Vimeo has better quality. All of the major Russian sites are better and less censored. If one feels they must use youtube, use it as a secondary, expendable site.

scalawag

The recent censorship in the western media goes beyond youtube:

Псаки: говорит и показывает Госдеп

Partial Yandex translation.

"Psaki: speaks and shows the state Department"

"Unforgettable Jennifer Psaki in recent days again pleased the public with their original statements. For example, insolently saying that captured by the Germans Kiev junta TV journalists Life News carried in the trunk of a car MANPADS. This time the speaker of the state Department lucky. At a press conference was not corrosive journalist who'd asked what MANPADS. Otherwise repeated history from the "election roundabouts".

Laughter with laughter, but the statements of the representatives of the USA clearly show that official Washington does not intend to abandon the anti-Russian hysteria and pressure. As stated by the same Psaki, signing a gas contract between Russia and China will not affect the U.S. strategy in terms of putting pressure on Russia. Does not stop the White house even what he gradually finds himself isolated and alone, losing allies are ready to bring their economic interests in the sacrifice of geopolitical ambitions of the USA.

Anti-Russian hysteria, the policy of double standards and an outright lie cause resentment and Western media, is increasingly acting exposures imposed by their own governments propaganda. Journalists do not stop even unfolded in Europe and the USA repression against dissidents media.

After the publication of the fact that journalists The New York Times found no evidence of Russian involvement in the events in Slavyansk, was fired its chief editor Jill Abramson.

The same fate befell the chief editor of the French newspaper Le Monde Natalie Nougayrede and broadcaster Finnish TV station Jari Sarasua, talk show which was closed because of an interview with a famous Finnish defender Johan Beckman about the situation in Ukraine.

German journalists held a mass rally claiming harassment from the authorities, not giving them the opportunity to tell the truth about the Nazis in Ukraine and the mass murder of citizens in Odessa."

The gist is despite that some western governments and media are taking a less hostile attitude, the hardcore fascists in the western establishment are pressing full steam ahead to mess up the Ukraine and with their "great game" inspired assault on Russia (if one can use a term like inspire to describe the limited thinking processes of those in this Aryan knuckledragger/Stern Gang goatfucker alliance of gangsters, to put it graphically).

[May 24, 2014] While challenges certainly remain, there is reason to be hopeful in the long run by Rajan Menon

How Rajan Menon can't know that Poroshenko financed EuroMaidan. Does he competly lost tocuh with reality.

May 22, 2014 | nationalinterest.org

Early in this crisis, I ventured the assessment that there was little chance of a full-blown Russian invasion of Ukraine. But after Russia's annexation of Crimea in March, following a bogus referendum that contravened Ukraine's constitution, there was much speculation that the Donbass could be next on Putin's list. But the reality all along has been that he can't pull off in eastern Ukraine what he did in Crimea. In fact, the Crimean model, if you will, is not what he has had in mind for the Donbass-and for good reasons.

The Crimea's pro-Russian majority provided a hospitable setting and a social base for Russia's landgrab. The Donbass lacks a Russian majority: in the two provinces that have witnessed the most upheaval, Donetsk and Luhansk, they constitute less than 40 percent of the population, in Kharkiv, about 26 percent. In Crimea, thousands of troops were already on the scene because Russia's Black Sea Fleet is headquartered there on a long-term lease, and the infrastructure for accommodating more of them existed, enabling the rapid bulking up that occurred. In the Donbass, Russian forces would lack a similar support structure. The logistical systems for supplying and sustaining them would have to be created, probably amidst popular resistance. That's not impossible to do, but it's much harder.

Crimea is a small place; Russian troops swarmed it quickly. The Donbass is a big place; Putin would have to deploy many more troops to wrest control of it. He could do that, but it would be a provocative act. The EU and the United States are now in sanctions mode. So far, the punishment inflicted on Russia has been confined to a coterie of senior leaders and fat cats, but an invasion of Ukraine would end Europe's divisions and hesitation about stiffening and expanding it. Russia would face sector-wide Western sanctions covering critical areas such as banking and energy. Putin understands this as well.

... ... ...

This is brings us to the election itself. There has been concern that it could have made matters worse by angering the Kremlin and deepening Ukraine's east-west divide. The apprehensions on this score are understandable; there have certainly been instances in which the rush to the ballot box has aggravated crises. Polls can increase polarization.

... ... ...

Poroshenko, the "Chocolate King," is a tycoon with substantial business interests in Russia and understands that Ukraine will be ill served by getting caught in a conflict spiral with Russia. And Putin knows that the next president won't come from the Party of Regions, whose electoral base is in the Donbass, and that Poroshenko is a man with whom he can work.

The election will also help calm easterners' fears about the right-wing nationalist parties and movements, particularly Right Sector and Svoboda, rooted in western Ukraine. It would be a big mistake for Kyiv and the West to dismiss these apprehensions as nothing more than the product of a Kremlin-run misinformation campaign (not that there hasn't been one). A sensible policy toward the Donbass requires that they be taken seriously.

The presidential election will show that for all the attention Ukraine's far right garners, it has meager support-and no chance of taking the political helm. The parliamentary elections, which won't be held till 2017, will confirm this. The mainstream parties will dominate the Verkhovna Rada.

None of this means that the crisis is over. But the apocalyptic scenarios won't materialize. To ensure that the turmoil continues to subside, Ukraine's new president should take some immediate steps to reassure the east. One would be to assuage lingering anxiety about the future status of the Russian language. A second would be to draw prominent eastern political leaders into the new government. Involving Donbass politicians in the design and implementation of Kyiv's plan to devolve power to the localities would be a third. Done properly, it could end the controversy over federalization, which Russia and many in the Donbass want and Kyiv opposes. Reassuring Russia on Ukraine's NATO membership, ideally by declaring neutrality, would be a fourth.

Could we still witness a train wreck in Ukraine? Sure. Is that the most likely outcome? No-thanks to what's happened lately.

Rajan Menon is the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Professor of Political Science at the Colin Powell School, City College of New York/City University of New York, and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.

Peter Larusmarinus

Your point about the Ukrainian Parliament being largely discredited is correct...

The members are currently mostly the "placemen" of various oligarchs...

They change sides according to the instructions and payments they receive from said oligarchs. Every Ukrainian knows this...

So the real question is:

Even of the Presidential elections may clarify some things, what are the Oligarchs really going to do?

It is astonishing that the Western press and pundits (apart from Ben Judah) hardly ever speak of these oligarchs, who are STILL running the country, on the ground, even as we speak....

Or is it because these oligarchs have hundreds of billions of €/$ in UK and US banks and investments and are buying the silence of the Western Press and pundits?

Louis Radovich -> Ludsu Sum

The US wants to expand NATO and the EU across the whole of Ukraine all the way to the oil and gas on the Caspian Sea. That is the root cause of the crisis in Ukraine and that will not change. In the twenty years since the Cold War ended, the US broke its promise not to expand NATO, dictated arbitrary communist-imposed republic borders for the Soviet Union's and Yugoslavia's breakup(and spewed the lie of genocide and bombed the Serbs into accepting it), unilaterally cancelled the ABM Treaty with Russia, and supported a putsch in Kiev to bring to power a pro-western government.

There is no doubt in my mind that whatever understanding or treaty the west makes with Russia today regarding Ukraine, the west will someday break when it has the opportunity. It will probably just take the west ten or twenty years to build up the government in Kiev to the point where it can revoke any autonomy it grants to ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine in the near future. Perhaps invalid or hostile election results or failed post-election negotiations will provide Russia an opportunity to take back more of what it never should have given up in the first place.

Peter Louis -> Radovich

Agreed

NATO started as a defensive alliance

It hss now been hijacked to become an alliance of aggression, without thhe approval of the people of Europe or the US, for that matter in any election...Aggression is contrary to the NATO Treaty...

By deceit, certain Westrrn politicians have changed NATO into a dangerous expansionist machine to satisfy US imperial ambitions...

It is clear that the overwhelming majority of people in Europe and the US are AGAINST AGGRESSION...

We must denounce this hijacking of democracy by certain profoundly corrupt, deceitful and evil warmongering "elites".....before every election....and in every Parliament...

[May 24, 2014] Western Cracks appear on Ukraine and Russian Sanctions by Jim W. Dean

journal-neo.org

... We got the first reports today of Ukrainian soldiers going over to the East, then being recaptured and executed. If Kiev engages in that, or their nationalist killers do, I can tell you that will put a military coup on the front burner. No professional army is going watch a bunch of cheap politicians and their thugs start executing their soldiers.

Resupply problems would be a major deterrent for that, but we don't know if Kiev can resupply them anyway. All the army has to do is make a deal with the Russians to watch the border for them and then redeploy to confront the Kiev and Right Sector troop units, and Kiev's "anti-terrorist" operation will be over.

If the army field grade leaders are smart, they will realize they can stop the killing. And we learned today than their rear area would be protected, as the Kharkov region has bowed out of the Kiev elections and will be holding their own referendum. You can assume they are mobilizing their army for defense at the same time. The three regions are contiguous, with their backs to the Russian border and interior lines of communication between them.

If they reached that point the next trip-wire would be if Kiev would use its attack helicopters and fighter bombers against ground forces in defensive positions. If that happened, then all bets are off, as the Russians might send in air defense units. I can't see them sitting back and watching Russians being bombed while in defense positions.

Lavrov drew that red line, of protecting Russian citizens if attacked as they were in Georgia, and large numbers of people in East Ukraine are. We hope that it does not get worse, before it gets better.

Jim W. Dean, managing editor for Veteran Today, producer/host of Heritage TV Atlanta, specially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".

Anti-Russian sanctions pick up

ThatJ, May 23, 2014 at 5:47 pm

EU to discuss import ban of Russian caviar, vodka and diamonds – report

Further EU sanctions against Russia may see a ban on imports of caviar, vodka, furs, and diamonds, Reuters reports citing a two-page document which sets out possible scenarios. It will be discussed at a summit May, 27, when EU leaders are set to meet to discuss Ukraine's presidential elections. The paper outlines low-intensity, medium-intensity and high-intensity sanctions. The latter would include bans on oil and gas.

http://rt.com/news/line/2014-05-23/#62356

kirill, May 23, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Bunch of insane bullies. How about sanctions on the EU for sponsoring the coup in Ukraine and openly supporting the illegal coup regime. Sorry, but some sniper psyop ain't a basis for recognition of a coup. Perhaps if the elected government opened up some death camps then one could argue for a coup. But these convenient sniper incidents at critical moments are just too obvious.

Clearly it is not Crimea that is getting their panties in a bunch in this case. It is the potential of Russia refusing to recognize the results of the election farce on Sunday. Merkel already threatened Russia that dare not question the "will of the Ukrainian people". Of course, her and the rest of the NATO vermin ignoring 51% of Ukrainians and backing the 28% that are pro-NATO is perfectly legitimate.

As for banning oil and gas. Keep dreaming in technicolor you hypocritical loons.

yalensis, May 24, 2014 at 3:00 am

I still can't figure out why EU/USA are so obsessed about Russia recognizing the election? I "recognize" when a cat strolls down the street, but that doesn't add any extra importance to the cat. What am I missing here?

Americans keep saying Russia's opinion doesn't matter, 'cause she is only a second-rate regional power whose economy is in free-fall; and then they turn around and say, "Your opinion is CRUCIAL, you absolutely MUST pronounce this election legitimate."

If I were Putin, I would just adopt a passive-aggressive approach: "Okay, okay," [pronounce this in a whiny voice, like a Jewish grandmother], "I hereby recognize your lousy election, if that's what makes you happy. You want me to just stamp my signature on it? Fine, I'll do that now, anything to please my Lord and Master…"

He should have said this a week ago, then it would have been doubly funny if the election never actually took place.

marknesop, May 23, 2014 at 7:25 pm
I imagine these lists are drawn up under U.S. prodding, because the USA does not like that the EU is Russia's largest trading partner and is working to change that, at least insofar as the EU buys Russian goods, although of course it is quite happy to allow Russia to buy as much as it wants from the EU. I will leave the strategizing to Putin and his cabinet, but if I were running the show I would start kicking American companies out of Russia, a new one every day, and seizing their assets. I'd start with this list. But I wouldn't stop there.

I'd put in a call to my pal Xi Jinping, and ask him if he wouldn't mind helping me send a signal to the United States of America by announcing, so sorry, controversial food additives that could harm the Chinese people have been found in Kentucky Fried Chicken products in China, and therefore all stores (40% market share, ouch) must suspend sales until cleared by Chinese authorities. Eating that junk is not good for people anyway. I think probably just that would be enough to wither the desire for ever more sanctions on the vine.

If not, next up, General Motors, with 12.8% market share in China in 2012, and who in 2010 sold more vehicles in China than in America, a quarter of the company's total sales. Imagine how it would feel to be the CEO of General Motors, and to have tell the board that there would be no bonuses this year because the company's sales forecast had just dropped by 25% or more. That would hurt.

[May 24, 2014] Protest against Parubiy and Kolomoisky help in Kiev

Polemika.com.ua

Protest was help in front of the building of the General Prosecutor's in Kiev. Protesters demanded the prompt investigation of resonant criminal cases. A group of residents of the capital required impartially to investigate the massacre on the Maidan and the burning of people in Odessa.

About three dozen of people participate.. According to them, the law enforcement covers those who ordered those horrible crimes - Igor Kolomoisky and Andrew Parubiy.

"An objective investigation no, although involvement in Odessa tragedy Kolomoisky said the former Governor of Odessa Vladimir Nemirovskiy," says Darya, the organizer of the rally.

Earlier, ex-Chairman of the Odessa police Dmitry Fuchedzhi accused of involvement in Odessa tragedy the current head of the NSDC Andrew Parubiy.

[May 24, 2014]http://marknesop.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/the-russian-gas-carousel-who-wants-off-and-who-wants-on/

marknesop.wordpress.com

Al

May 21, 2014 at 9:27 am

Another fine post. I will quibble on your point that 'Europe' is trying to kill South Stream (if only they could steal Scarlett Johanssen from Sodastream to front it). Sure, the 'EU', namely bureaucrats in Brussels who want to be helpful to their masters have been making lurid threats, but that is all they are and they know it. These bureaucrats simply don't have the power to cancel South Stream.

a) It is clear that it is an intra-european project, not simply and EU one which can be controlled from Brussels;

b) Russia hasn't ratified the Energy Charter* with the EU but it has agreed a roadmap to 2050**;

c) De-linking of oil-gas price unilaterally (which is the de facto standard of decades) by Brussels unilaterally is very dodgy – arguing that US gas is cheaper even though it is not even being exported;

d) Brussels demanding a single EU price for gas regardless of reliability of payments, quantity discounts, investments etc. is also dodgy because this would be Brussels unilateral seizing control of energy negotiations for the EU without the agreement of EU member states – patently illegal, and behavior that would make any self-respecting mafiosi proud.

BTW Russia is taking the EU to the WTO over the EU threats:
http://www.euractiv.com/sections/energy/russia-takes-eu-energy-rules-wto-arbitration-301876

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Charter_Treaty#Russian_participation
** http://ec.europa.eu/energy/international/russia/russia_en.htm

Why are these bureaucrats making so much noise? Because they can do so little. They have to 'do something', regardless how ridiculous and hollow it may be. It's all part of the mass anti-Russian propaganda campaign being waged US and EU wide in their free and independent media.

I had another point, but it escapes me for the moment.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/CHIN-01-160514.html By Francesco Sisci

atimes.com

In any case, the strengthening of the economic bond between Russia and China creates a whole new geopolitical dynamic in the world that could de facto unravel Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger's great gambit in the 1970s.

It could be in the interests of both Russia and America to de-escalate the Ukrainian tensions. If Ukraine flares, Russia could be hooked and too dependent on China, which is a far tougher customer than the EU. If that occurs, the US could be squeezed out of Eurasia, as this new Sino-Russian detente could dominate the continent.

In either case, China would risk being drawn totally inland, and 30 years of development along the coast and projection into the world would be at stake. This could be especially true as China is finding more problems with its sea neighbors, including Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

That is: none of the main actors, America, Russia and China, has to gain a lot in pushing further with Ukraine.

Still, the Ukrainian genie is out of the bottle. Extremists of both sides lead the dance on the ground, working for bloodshed that might bring them to the fore and make them the indispensable hero for their own side. Therefore one would need a concerted effort to re-bottle this genie.

At the moment, the main component of this effort is missing: trust between the parties, something that will be hard to regain in a short time. In fact, Europeans and Americans blame Putin for the escalation of the crisis with his carving out of Crimea. To calm all of this, some kind of miracle would be required. This is perhaps what Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin might have hinted at in a recent interview, when he said that Pope Francis could be willing to intervene in critical places and times to advance peace. [1]

But then perhaps a double miracle should happen - the ultimate proof for sainthood in the Catholic Church.

There is a second jeopardy in the old continent: the European elections, where anti-European forces for the first time could gain a large percentage of the parliament. The biggest danger comes from France and Italy, the countries that after Germany are the two main pillars of the euro zone. The French and italian economies are underperforming, which will blow fresh anti-euro winds in the sails of the EU election

In France, ultra-right Marine Le Pen could get 20% of the national vote; in Italy, out-of-the-box Beppe Grillo could even reach 25% of the vote. Their parties, on different sides of the political spectrum, represent a growing dissatisfaction with Europe in the heart of the European systemâ not at its periphery, as in Greece with its crisis.

Moreover, this takes place just as Europe could de facto be forced to adopt a greater role in what will be left of Ukraine after Moscow takes in Crimea and the eastern part opts out.

Francesco Sisci is a Senior Researcher associated with the Center for European Studies at the People's University in Beijing. The opinions expressed in this article are his own and do not represent in any way those of the Center.

[May 23, 2014] Focus on Russia as Ukraine's presidential election nears by Karen DeYoung,

May 23, 2014 | washingtonpost.com

Finding common ground in Europe on sanctions has been "extremely difficult," said the senior diplomat, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the situation frankly. While values unite the two sides of the Atlantic, he said, interests sometimes diverge. The United States does about $25 billion in annual trade with Russia; the European Union about $450 billion.

Former Soviet satellites, including the Baltic states and Poland, are eager for harsh measures. Some E.U. members, including Greece and other smaller states whose economies are still suffering the effects of near-bankruptcy, fear the fallout from a cutoff of Russian tourism and trade.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose leadership is seen as decisive, said in a visit to Washington early this month that her government is committed to sanctions against major Russian economic sectors if necessary.

Despite extensive business lobbying against them, Germany's leading industrial group said last week that it would go along with sanctions, albeit with a "heavy heart."

Beyond the West's reluctance to punish itself by punishing Russia, there is trans-Atlantic agreement on the eventual need to bring relations with Moscow back on an even footing.

"We have to deal with Russia in the future" beyond Ukraine's elections, the European diplomat said. "There is concern that the Ukraine crisis does not contaminate future cooperation," including on issues such as Syria and Iran. "So far, it has not."

Putin made the same point Friday. "We still hope that common sense and the realization of their national interests will push all our partners in Europe and the U.S. into continuing their partnership with Russia," he said at a conference in St. Petersburg, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

"Despite our varying, maybe diametrically non-overlapping approaches in assessing critical situations, we nevertheless continue cooperation," Putin said. The United States suspended military cooperation with Russia over Ukraine, he noted, "but they have not suspended military cargo transit to and from Afghanistan via our territory, because it is convenient for them. As a matter of fact, we have not refused it, either."

Russia, he added, is still participating with the United States and the Europeans in nuclear negotiations with Iran. U.S. officials agreed that there has been no change in Russia's cooperation in the talks.

... ... ...

"Despite our varying, maybe diametrically non-overlapping approaches in assessing critical situations, we nevertheless continue cooperation," Putin said. The United States suspended military cooperation with Russia over Ukraine, he noted, "but they have not suspended military cargo transit to and from Afghanistan via our territory, because it is convenient for them. As a matter of fact, we have not refused it, either."

keviquin

Surprisingly good? They're not even good in Kyiv.

The east of the country is a war zone of the interim government's making. I'm not holding my breath on the outcome of this farce - Sugar Daddy's 'landslide' or otherwise. Ukraine will be lucky to come out of this looking like Bosnia on a good day.

What a freaking shame, and it's all on the stupidity of trying to make democracy for thieves - and a couple of NATO bases closer to Russia.

Ridgebac

US and EU meddling wont do anything to solve the problem of Ukraine. supporting neoNazis is a stain on the west that can't be erased. The US and EU don't learn from history and after egging on Hitler felt the brunt of his maniacal fascism as Europe was desroyed and the GB nearly defeated. Want a dark day that would have been only prevented by the Soviety Union breaking the back of the Nazi war machine.

[May 23, 2014] Ukraine SITREP May 22th, 19:32 UTC/Zulu: Ukie death squad murders conscripts

Something really weird has just happened in the Ukraine. Everybody agrees that an attack took place on a checkpoint of the Ukrainian national guard near the city of Volnovakha (see map). 35 soldiers were wounded, 15 died (other figures quote 8 confirmed dead and an unknown number of evacuated bodies of attackers who got killed; one source says "13-20 fatalities"). The surviving soldiers say that out of 53 men, only 7 survived.

So far all the sources point to the same sequence of events. Here is what I pieced together:

A Ukrainian national guard unit (according to one source the 51st motorized brigade which had been hastily made up with middle-aged reservists) brought in from the city of Vinnitsa. For three days were were told to man a checkpoint, but today they were given the order to attack civilians in a nearby village. The unit refused and the commander announced that he would withdraw because "there were no terrorists here, only civilians". At around 5AM a black sedan, two jeeps and several vehicles (vans and armored) of the company Privat Bank (belongs to the Jewish oligarch Kolomoiski) carrying members of the "Donbass" and "Azov" death-squads drove to the checkpoint and opened fire with everything they had. The soldiers fired back as best they could. The attack lasted 15min after which the attackers put on some Saint George ribbons and beat up the surviving and wounded soldiers while telling them that they were from the Donbass Resistance forces. Not a single solider believed them.

About one hour later two or three more helicopters were seen shooting at the destroyed vehicles of the attackers in an apparent attempt to conceal their origin (Privat Bank). Still, witnesses have categorically identified the vans used by Privat Bank. There is also video footage confirming this.

This is a video showing the attack helicopters and the explosion of what was either an ammo dump or the ammo load of an infantry fighting vehicle.

... ... ...

[May 23, 2014] Russia will recognise outcome of Ukraine poll, says Vladimir Putin

Quote: I'm seriously beginning to think that, in philosophical terms, over the past 25 years Western liberalism has simply provided a cover for the implementation of neoliberal policies, probably from the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the rise of Clinton and Blair, right up to the EU structural adjusment programs imposed on the so called PIGS and the Lib Dem alliance with the Conservatives.
Hottentot, 23 May 2014 2:26pm

Recommend: 99

Lavrov's is right when he says "If we sincerely want to help the Ukrainian people overcome this crisis, it's necessary to abandon the notorious zero-sum games, stop encouraging xenophobic and neo-Nazi sentiments and get rid of dangerous megalomania,"

What is hugely disappointing is that the Guardian yet again, is not reporting all the facts in Ukraine. Having just read RT, the Kiev army have been shooting their own who do not want to fight with those in the east.

The Guardian really should look at its motto.

HogfartsAcademy->Hottentot, 23 May 2014 3:50pm

Recommend: 36

The Graun's unashamedly partisan reporting of the Russia/Ukraine conflict as well as others - Syria for example, has been clear to see for some time now.

theonionmurders->HogfartsAcademy, 23 May 2014 7:50pm

Recommend: 4

I'm seriously beginning to think that, in philosophical terms, over the past 25 years Western liberalism has simply provided a cover for the implementation of neoliberal policies, probably from the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the rise of Clinton and Blair, right up to the EU structural adjusment programs imposed on the so called PIGS and the Lib Dem alliance with the Conservatives.

...and the guardian has bought into these 'third way' ideas wholesale.

Žižek goes even further, arguing that liberalism has the ability to easily mesh with other political ideologies.

ocixem2, 23 May 2014 2:27pm

Recommend: 59

"Today, we are building a new European country, the foundation of which was laid by millions of Ukrainians who proved they are capable of defending their own choice and their country," Turchynov said. "We will never allow anyone to rob us of our freedom and independence, turn our Ukraine into a part of the post-Soviet empire."

It sounds like Victoria Nuland and her gang of vulture capitalists won't be content until they've picked the rotting corpse of Ukraine completely clean.

Solidarnosc -> ocixem2

23 May 2014 2:33pm

Recommend: 11

These words of Turchynov are trotted out almost verbatim, every time a Ukrainian government of the west-leaning Lvov/Lviv political complexion comes to power (Yushchenko, Tymoshenko etc)

Gepap1000 -> hatstan, 23 May 2014 2:46pm

Recommend 35

1. You keep talking about the "Ukrainian People" as if it were a single group, while the events on the ground have shown this to be a fantasy.

2. Given that anti-EU parties will probably do very well in the coming elections, the notion that the EU will be stronger is foolish. As for NATO, Putin has certainly made sure Ukraine will not be a viabl candidate in the eyes of the less bellicose members.

3. Correct on sanctions, isolation from the EU and US, which last time I checked are not the be all end all of the international community.

4. Its cute you think Europe will actually get anywhere weaning itself of Russian gas, especially when taking Crimea has made it easier in a couple of ways to extend its life as the main supplier to Europe.

Hottentot -> hatstan, 23 May 2014 2:58pm
Recommend 31

The propagandists is the US: Russia is not isolated, they have signed many deals earlier this week with China and there is a major meeting on 29 May with other BRIC countries. The US caused the over-throw of a legal elected president in Ukraine, and they (the US) have caused all the decent in Ukraine, not Russia.

JoeyTe -> ocixem2, 23 May 2014 3:26pm

Bypassing the U.S. dollar? Good luck with that. China has a manipulated currency (all currencies are manipulated by central banks, but China and some of the South American nations go that extra mile), and rubles aren't exactly widely accepted on an international scale, and likely won't be in our lifetime. For better or worse the U.S. dollar will remain the dominant currency used in international trade, no matter how badly many wish it weren't so. The Euro could have made inroads, but after the PIIGS crisis, everyone saw how vulnerable that union is.

Quite frankly, diversification away from USD is a good idea as no one should put all their eggs in one basket from a risk management perspective. The problem is, what other currency would be acceptable tender for goods and services between two nations with different local currencies? If you look around the globe, there just aren't very many alternatives that can be used as a common currency when you consider the attributes you'd like said common currency to have (issued by stable government that's not going to be overthrown by a Mexican minority because they are mad the U.S. goverment won't recognize Spanish as an official language, not suddenly going to lose 10% of value overnight or suffer hyperinflation, is widely accepted in countries that don't have their own local currency, etc.)

Plus if you're going to do business with one of the biggest economies in the world, as is the current standing of the U.S., you're going to need to be able to pay or receive dollars because we're not going to pay you in coconuts, and we aren't going to take your Colombian Pesos (though knowing our government, they might be inclined to deal in sheqels).

Hottentot -> hatstan, 23 May 2014 3:39pm

Recommend 16

Russian troops still occupy Crimea.

The Crimean people voted to join Russia, and the Duma accepted their request, so Russia troops have every right to be in Crimea - did you miss that when it was announced around the world, by the world media?

HogfartsAcademy -> Luke_Skywalker, 23 May 2014 3:54pm

Recommend: 13

Facts and accuracy are an optional extra for Hatstan and are generally dispensed with in his incessant ramblings.

ocixem2 -> JoeyTe, 23 May 2014 4:26pm

Recommend 6

...the U.S. dollar will remain the dominant currency used in international trade...

I never cease to be amazed by those who believe in all earnestness that the results of their speculations possess the same kind of validity as the results of cognitive processes.

theonionmurders -> JoeyTe, 23 May 2014 8:11pm

Your obviously not familiar with the concept of 'a basket of currencies' and how 'special drawing rights' are used in international loans. Russia is also quite happy to trade in Euro's, Yen, Yuan and even gold.

The BRIC countries are almost certainly moving away from the USD system to using these ideas for the basis of a new international banking system.

Some US sources even think they are going all-out and plan to introduce a full-on 'Keynesian Bancour', originally rejected by Wall Street, creating a new global reserve currency that is entirely neutral and which would be issued to an alternative IMF to redress national surpluses and deficits.

When, not if, that happens the US is fucked, and will certainly get the guns out again, displacing neocon anger all around the world.

All empires usually end this way: hubris, imperial over reach, then economic and political collapse.

theonionmurders -> theonionmurders, 23 May 2014 8:16pm

This idea is being considered and researched extensively at the moment.

That's why the neocons have been trying to undermine governments all around the world over the past decade or more - to undermine rival strategic-political alliances and economic competitors.

Pelagus, 23 May 2014 2:32pm

Recommend: 67

why destroy the country - they had wait only one year and choose a new president?
Now

My question is to Ukrainians (not nationalists):
Is it better now?
Did it worth all this?

christopher22 -> AbstractImp, 23 May 2014 3:28pm

Recommend: 17

I realise that as American neo-Nazi supporters, this concept may be new to you, but Putin is employing what is called STATESMANSHIP

He is making the US and EU look complete and utter fools

Түвшинбаатарийн Мишээл -> ID1456161, 23 May 2014 5:27pm

Recommend: 9

Lol are you one of those goon who is still brainwashed by Western media? Georgia invaded first that is fact and even UN admit it that Georgia atacked first. Crimea had already troops there ever heard of 25k soldier contract? Was there any casualty?

"No" Now look at eastern Ukraine, Maidan! So Much dead thx to Western neo con backers. About Afghanistan Dude USSR collapsed in 1991 Get Your Shit Together! Atleast Look at how many time USA invaded other country for what eva excuse.

TedMorgan38, 23 May 2014 2:38pm

Recommend: 67

In the deadliest attack yet, pro-Russia insurgents attacked a military checkpoint and killed 16 soldiers on Thursday, casting a shadow over the presidential vote.

The head of the general staff of the Russian military, General Valery Gerasimov, criticised Ukrainian authorities, claiming they were using artillery and other heavy weapons against civilians. He also said that radical paramilitaries and private security companies were spearheading the Ukrainian offensive.

Is this how propoganda works?

The attack on the checkpoint has been blamed on "professional mercenaries" by soldiers who came under attack, not separatists (and not "pro-Russian").

Slavyansk and other eastern Ukrainian urban areas have been attacked by Ukrainian National Guard units, employing tanks, APCs, helicopters and Grad multiple rocket launchers, yet the Guardian implies this is an unsubstantiated accusation emanating from Russia.

Biased reporting is not restricted to what is reported (no article in the Guardian detailing National Guard attacks on civilians), but also in how reports are presented. Falsely asserting that what is unclear (who attacked the checkpoint) is known, and casting what is clear (NG assaults on civilian areas) as opinion, is bias.

WorldToSmall, 23 May 2014 2:42pm

Recommend: 61

After all blood spilled, territorial losses, economy disintegration, and all the sacrifices to remove billionaire oligarchs from power,

Ukrainians now have clear leader in presidential election: billionaire oligarch poroshenko. This must be devastating for anyone capable of cognitive activity.

NottaBot -> WorldToSmall, 23 May 2014 3:45pm

Recommend: 19

Where are the "reformers" and "revolutionaries" of the Maidan? The 100 killed in February must be so happy to know their blood will slick the skids for yet another oligarchic takeover.

AnnmarieKinn -> MikeGenow, 23 May 2014 3:06pm

Recommend: 34

Hey...don't lump us all together...I was brought up under the impression that the Russians were all aggressive communists and the Chinese robot communists and we in the west were bringing peace, liberation and democracy to the world LOL....thanks to the internet I now know what a load of BS propaganda we were all fed growing up.

The problem is all the greedy control freak corporations, politicians and secret agencies, without them I'm sure Joe public of planet earth would find they have a lot in common.

Oleg Volkov, 23 May 2014 2:45pm

Recommend: 68

US instigated coup in Kiev in February, triggering the worst crisis in relations with the west since the cold

zchabj5, 23 May 2014 2:47pm

Recommend: 70

Putin is no fool. He has secured the only thing Russia really cared about, which was their historically Russian territory of Crimea.

Secondly, Ukraine needs tens of billions to balance their budgets for the next few years. They have lost their Gold, and have 20-40% of the population permanently in distrust of Western Ukraine, rightly or wrongly.

Gazprom are set to cut off gas supplies on the 2nd of June to Ukraine, without up front payment at a much higher rate. If they do pay this, it will be IMF money going straight into the Russian government's pocket.

Russia has likely dumped billions in US treasuries, which is why Belgium has magically bought 100 billion in US treasuries last month, despite no trade surplus and a deficit. Talk about desperation from the Federal reserve.

Putin has finalized a gas deal and infrastructure investment scheme for Russia from China, along with talks of supplying South Korea with gas through a pipeline from North Korea.

Beckow -> zchabj5, 23 May 2014 5:45pm

Recommend: 15

I agree, if you go back 6 months and ignore all propaganda, Russia has achieved a lot:
- Crimea is in Russia
- Ukraine's Russian speakers have been mobilized and they will be hard to control, 10-20 million of them
- EU has faced the consequences of breaking trade with Russia and blinked
- Ukraine is bankrupt, somebody will have to bail them out for years and it will not be Russia anymore. Since US only gives symbolic support, it will have to be EU for years financially keeping a country of 46 million afloat. This will be a huge expensive mess with trade issues, demand for work visas for Ukrainians, who will for gas, who will now buy Ukraine's exports (today 30% go to Russia).

If the US State Department was even partially behind this, with their emotional Polish, Swedish, Latvian allies, they should all look for another line of work. They did something both expensive and stupid.

And all they had to do was wait 6 months for the regular elections and none of the bad stuff above would have happened.....

StrategicVoice213 -> zchabj5, 23 May 2014 8:00pm

Russia has likely dumped billions in US treasuries, which is why Belgium has magically bought 100 billion in US treasuries last month, despite no trade surplus and a deficit. Talk about desperation from the Federal reserve.

Interesting ... but unlikely. Can we see your evidence of such events?

zchabj5 -> StrategicVoice213, 23 May 2014 8:49pm

http://www.globalresearch.ca/russia-dumps-20-of-its-treasury-holdings-as-mystery-belgium-buyer-adds-another-whopping-40-billion/5383030

It's 40 billion, not 100, but this 40 comes after a quite large increase for Belgium's holdings since the end of 2013.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/russia-dumps-20-of-its-treasury-holdings-as-mystery-belgium-buyer-adds-another-whopping-40-billion/5383030

About the most recent Russia sell off.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-18/meet-brand-new-and-shocking-third-largest-holder-us-treasurys

Belgium's increase in holdings prior to current crisis.

zchabj5 -> Beckow, 23 May 2014 8:51pm

Yanukovich was going to lose the 2015 election. If the US had waited, all of this, and a gradual undermining of Russia's position in Crimea could have been achieved.

theonionmurders -> StrategicVoice213, 23 May 2014 8:54pm

The WSJ thinks so, as do many other sources after a google search.

'Foreign central banks' Treasury bond holdings parked at the Federal Reserve dropped by the most on record in the latest week'.

Milogrim, 23 May 2014 2:47pm

Recommend: 52

Wrong again, Guardian. Putin said he will "respect the expression of will" during the elections. Despite being prodded by journalists to qualify his comment, he never once said he will "recognize" the outcome as legitimate, preferring to say generalities like "peace is needed, better such elections than none at all". You are falsely creating expectations that should not be there, posting facts as you want them to appear.

Milogrim -> martyjar, 23 May 2014 3:22pm

Recommend: 10

He said exactly same things about refrendum in Eastern Ukraine a couple of weeks ago. When BBC says "It is the first time Mr Putin has explicitly indicated that he will accept Ukraine's election result." they, like Guardian, engage in speculation, which belongs to editorials and not the news section.

I seriously doubt OSCE will be so morally corrupt as to to declare the elections as "free and democratic" when you have a civil war raging in parts of the country, which in itself raises doubts about any "legitimacy" of the vote.

MikeGenow, 23 May 2014 2:55pm

Was wondering if anglophones/anglosaxons understand what is 'mutual-understanding'.

ocixem2 -> MikeGenow, 23 May 2014 3:05pm

Recommend: 18

And then when the victim of this aggression finally gets enough and reacts, they start bellowing they are the victim.

TheTerrence, 23 May 2014 2:57pm

Recommend: 82

While I doubt many here will agree, but Putin is right. While Europe was careless in interfering in the Ukraine, America was foolhardy. The Ukraine has always been a complex mix of both nationalities and dual languages.

America's simplistic take on a country which few Americans could point to on a map has driven the country to the brink of civil war. It seems they learnt nothing from the diaster of Vietnam, or the tragedy of both Iraq and Afganistan.

America, please spare the World your help. Countries, societies, and human-kind are no longer black and white issues.

No longer is it good guys versus bad guys, good old yankees against villanous communists, the World really is a little more complex than that.

Europe, what to say, the Ukraine is on your doorstep, but clearly of no relevance to you other than politically. I say that based upon your seeming ignorance of the delicate balance that you chose to demolish for reasons best known to yourselves.

griffinalabama, 23 May 2014 3:13pm

Recommend: 56

The US government has been up to it's tricks trying to rewrite history on the Odessa massacre at Wikipedia even though all video evidence shows the US narrative falls apart when examining the video's. Link to Wikipedia's recently amended Odessa Massacre storyline and sources being cited....they even cite the Kiev Post which blamed the deaths of the victims on themselves. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2_May_2014_Odessa_clashes

Links to video of the victims before they were killed. Notice they are primarily middle aged, elderly and many are women? Go the 6:50 and 14:42 marks to see that they were not violent and aggressive as the Western media portrayed them. They simply took refuge in the building and attempted to barricade themselves from the crowds of violent youth coming after them.

This second video is the official Right Sector walkthrough after the massacre in the Trade Union Building.

At the 38:37 mark the cameraman identifies the body of an individual and says "he's one of ours". The body is wearing a St. Georges ribbon. This fact lends strong credence to the theory that Right Sector members were infiltrating the Pro Russian groups. False flags tactics have been associated with Right Sector since the beginning of the Euromaidan protests. the US government funded the Kiev media on the day of the Odessa massacre.

Link to the official US government website for USAID. That US government site officially states that USAID INCREASES SUPPORT FOR MEDIA AND PRESS FREEDOM IN UKRAINE
For Immediate Release
Friday, May 2, 2014
USAID Press Office

http://www.usaid.gov/news-information/press-releases/may-2-2014-usaid-increases-support-media-and-press-freedom-ukraine

This support takes place on May 2, 2014- the very same day of the Odessa massacre.....now look at what the Kiev Post publishes on May 3,2014, the very next day...

http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/sbu-russia-behind-kidnapping-of-osce-military-observers-updates-videos-346066.html

Police say pro-Russians accidentally set fatal Odessa fire with Molotov cocktails (LIVE UPDATES, VIDEO)
Print version
May 3, 2014, 6:45 p.m. | Ukraine - by Kyiv Post

Now take a look at the way these people died....and attempt to figure out all these "accidents"...Warning graphic photos: Pictures are of corpses in various states of death. http://ucmopuockon.livejournal.com/5885397.html

yermelai, 23 May 2014 3:15pm

Recommend: 32

On Sunday Ukrainians will elect a new president: a billionaire who was previously minister of economic affairs and former minister of foreign affairs in the 2 previous 'corrupt' governments. He is also proud to be paying his workers a whopping 400 Euros a month - not bad for a millionaire, eh sorry billionaire! Although lovingly known as a 'chocolate king' Poroshenko's business empire also includes several car and bus plants, Leninska Kuznya shipyard, the Kanal 5 television channel as well as other businesses. In this new 'democratic' there never seems to be a conflict of interests between business assets and political responsibility - is it any wonder Yanukovich accumulated who knows how much wealth!?

Turchynov talks of 'freedom and independence', Poroshenko intends to sign a European association agreement that will sell the remains of independence Ukrainians still had to Western multi-nationals for he obviously has an acute understanding of 'freedom and independence' and is naturally adored by at least a third of Ukrainians according to TV images that have crossed my screen.

With this same respect for 'freedom and independence' the People's Republic of Donetsk has been designated criminal by the billionaire 'democrats'. Despite this, Donetsk leader Denis Pushilin intends to nationalize the industries that make up another billionaire's portfolio - Rinat Akhmetov. Pushilin's People's Republic will of course not be recognized by the world. And the Kiev 'interim' has achieved its main aim of not succumbing to 'a post-Soviet empire' and this has been justified by using all means available and committing Ukrainians to being part of a post-democratic European superstate run by technocratic financial oligarchs without the shadow of a national referendum in sight.

True 'freedom and independence' must always be nipped in the bud at all costs. The right to self-determination must be contained, and so world leadership has tossed into the rubbish tip of history the 'Maidan' protests and other acts of freedom.

WearyofthisSht, 23 May 2014 3:28pm

Recommend: 43

Over 55,000 police officers, National Guard will work at polling stations on May 25

Over 55,000 police officers will be working at polling stations at the May 25 presidential elections in Ukraine, the Interior Ministry has reported.

And this is WONDERFUL news, of course! Remember how the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine Referenda were discounted because of the presence of armed guards? More hypocrisy and double standards from Ukraine & the West.

Dmitry Pugachev, 23 May 2014 3:34pm

Recommend: 18

Actually "to respect the choice of Ukrainian people" doesn't equal to "recognize the outcome of Ukraine's presidential election".

From what he said one cannot make such a conclusion and questioner who understood that had to ask him about it twice with no explicit result. He well may be referring to referenda in Donetsk and Lugansk. It was also the choice of Ukrainian people.

SallyWa, 23 May 2014 3:36pm

Recommend: 18

Who made the pivot to Asia? Putin

"The Russia-China deal also makes a mockery of U.S. boasts to have isolated Russia because of Ukraine. Not even Germany wants to risk a serious rupture with Russia (hence the absence of significant sanctions). And now Putin has just ostentatiously unveiled a signal 30-year energy partnership with the world's second-largest economy. Some isolation."
The contrast with President Obama's own vaunted pivot to Asia is embarrassing (to say nothing of the Keystone pipeline with Canada). He went to Japan last month also seeking a major trade agreement that would symbolize and cement a pivotal strategic alliance. He came home empty-handed.

Does the Obama foreign policy team even understand what is happening? For them, the Russia-China alliance is simply more retrograde, 19th-century, balance-of-power maneuvering by men of the past oblivious to the reality of a 21st century governed by law and norms. A place where, for example, one simply doesn't annex a neighbor's territory. Indeed, Obama scolds Russia and China for not living up to their obligations as major stakeholders in this new interdependent world.

The Chinese and Russians can only roll their eyes. These norms and rules mean nothing to them. Sure, they'll join the World Trade Organization for the commercial advantages – then cheat like hell with cyberespionage and intellectual piracy.

Obama cites modern rules; Russia and China, animated by resurgent nationalism, are governed by ancient maps. Putin refers to eastern and southern Ukraine by the old czarist term of "New Russia." And China's foreign minister justifies vast territorial claims that violate maritime law by citing traditional ("nine-dash") maps that grant China dominion over the East and South China seas.

Which makes this alignment of the world's two leading anti-Western powers all the more significant. It marks a major alteration in the global balance of power.

Putin to Shanghai reprises Nixon to China. To be sure, it's not the surprise that Henry Kissinger pulled off in secret. But it is the capstone of a gradual - now accelerated - Russia-China rapprochement that essentially undoes the Kissinger-Nixon achievement.

Their 1972 strategic coup fundamentally turned the geopolitical tables on Moscow. Putin has now turned the same tables on us. China and Russia together represent the core of a new coalition of anti-democratic autocracies challenging the Western-imposed, post-Cold War status quo. Their enhanced partnership marks the first emergence of a global coalition against American hegemony since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Indeed, at this week's Asian cooperation conference, Xi proposed a brand-new continental security system to include Russia and Iran (lest anyone mistake its anti-imperialist essence) and exclude America. This is an open challenge to the post-Cold War, U.S.-dominated world that Obama inherited and then weakened beyond imagining.

If carried through, it would mark the end of a quarter-century of unipolarity. And herald a return to a form of bipolarity - two global coalitions: one free, one not - though, with communism dead, not as structurally rigid or ideologically dangerous as Cold War bipolarity. Not a fight to the finish, but a struggle nonetheless - for dominion and domination.

To which Obama, who once proclaimed that "no one nation can or should try to dominate another nation," is passive, perhaps even oblivious. His pivot to Asia remains a dead letter. Yet his withdrawal from the Middle East - where from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, from Libya to Syria, U.S. influence is at its lowest ebb in 40 years - is a fait accompli .
The retreat is compounded by Obama's proposed massive cuts in defense spending (down to below 3 percent of GDP by 2017) even as Russia is rearming and China is creating a sophisticated military soon capable of denying America access to the waters of the Pacific Rim.

Decline is not a condition. Decline is a choice. In this case, Obama's choice. And it's the one area where he can be said to be succeeding splendidly."

Full: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-who-made-the-pivot-to-asia-putin/2014/05/22/091a48ee-e1e3-11e3-9743-bb9b59cde7b9_story.html?hpid=z2

aretheymyfeet -> SallyWa, 23 May 2014 3:55pm

Recommend: 13

Ah Charles Krauthammer, that imperialist warmonger again...was he not a massively vocal supporter of the Iraq invasion?

GoddessOFblah, 23 May 2014 3:44pm

Recommend: 39

Maiden was in vain. I supported it initially until it was hijacked. Just like in Syria.

SallyWa, 23 May 2014 3:53pm

Recommend: 28

No observers sent from State Duma to Ukraine's elections.

The Russian parliament's lower house State Duma did not send observers to Ukraine to monitor the presidential elections on May 25, the Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said in an interview on Echo of Moscow Radio

"We have not sent observers to the polls for two reasons. The first is safety," he said.

The second reason is the character of elections and that their legitimacy is doubtful. "The elections will be held against the background of the large-scale operation of troops against the civilian population in the southeast of the country, under conditions of the wildest violation of human rights, violence toward political opponents and violence against media that is against the freedom of media and the freedom of information spread. Thus, of course they (the elections) cannot be viewed as free," the speaker said.

Түвшинбаатарийн Мишээл, 23 May 2014 3:58pm

Recommend: 22

Taken From Vice news website comment section this seems good evidence about Friendly Fire Conspiracy.

The version of "friendly fire" or conspiracy seems incredible but it is consistent with video evidence.

1. Soldiers definitely had some "cease fire" agreement with locals. Locals roaming freely through out the camp are explaining soldiers that they are not welcomed. Soldiers are promising not to open fire.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9sVlYtNSaY
2. A dash camera which caught the scene immediately after the attack shot practically unscathed green armored bank truck of Privat Bank. This bank belongs to oligarch Ihor Kolomoysky, who is alleged sponsor of Right Sector. This truck was used by the attackers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHr2qFEquJQ
3. Video that was shot by Ukrainian soldiers. Astounded voices ask why helicopters opened fire at already devastated military camp.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fmtjG392ZA
4. The officer is reporting that helicopters are machine-gunning Ukrainian APCs and dead bodies of soldiers. The officer doubts that helicopters are on Ukrainian side. Camera man is praying on the background.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1uGQdBj9zk
On this video is aftermath of what had happened. Green armored bank truck of Privat Bank is already burned by helicopter attack.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J-axhT4B3Q
It is highly probable that Ukrainian helicopters were covering up after some inhuman action and destroying evidence. Still there are much more questions than answers.

Oskar Jaeger -> Түвшинбаатарийн Мишээл, 23 May 2014 4:17pm

Where I come from, we believe that, in most cases, an accident is more probable than a conspiracy. However, in the fog of war, it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference.
Also, make no mistake, there is an undeclared state of war in Ukraine today, between the Kiev government and Luhansk/Donetsk "People's Republics".

Kamik11, 23 May 2014 4:01pm

Recommend: 20

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCyN6_YPHTg
Poroshenko promises to pay 1000 hrivnas (~ $120) / day to every volunteer who will agree to fight against Easern Ukraine starting from the 26 of May. Apart from that it is a clear conclusion that he was never and is not going to stop sending troops to Eastern Ukraine in case he is elected. Otherwise he, certainly, wouldn't make such statements on the 22 of May, just 2 days before the elections, would he?

TheAfricanMan -> Kamik11, 23 May 2014 4:23pm

Recommend: 19

If he does this, Ukraine will truly descend into a brutal civil war as the east will respond.

If he doesn't he will be toast for the ultra-nationalist in West Ukraine and they now have guns and are in the 'National Guard' and other officially condoned militias.

Can't they see the wreck that that they are egging on to happen in Ukraine? Can't they see the genocide they are brewing in Ukraine?

Well, remembering how the French trained and backed the Interhamwe militia that caused the Rwandan massacre it's should be a surprise.

Kamik11 -> TheAfricanMan, 23 May 2014 7:31pm
Recommend: 4

Europe will keep silence because they are not independent.
America backs the coup and this government so they won't refuse to do it even there will be blatant massacres each day. They'll continue their hypocritic lies and if this government is ousted by the mob one day they'll accuse Russia of everything.

vgnych, 23 May 2014 4:04pm

Recommend: 23

The reasoning on Putin side must be simple: the existing Turchinov/Yatcenuk and Company are plain idiots, so the election may provide for at least some reshuffling with possible improvement of some sort.
On the other hand blocking the election will guaranty the known idiocy stay in place for longer time - not a good choice.
In other words - there is not much to loose there, but instead perhaps open a door of possibility for some sort of improvement.

aLLaguz -> vgnych, 23 May 2014 4:38pm

Recommend: 5

Mantaining Turchinov/Yatcenuk in goverment is extremely dangerous, even for Ukraine, they, looking for power, money and military assets can easily sell the country itself to the US and the IMF...
It is better for Russia to support the election and this way, removing those people.
As you say, maybe the new president will be someone who will be able to work with. Or maybe Russia already is working with one candidate... who knows.

Kamik11, 23 May 2014 4:18pm

Early on Friday a house was destroyed by mortar fire that came from Ukrainian government side. Locals reported no casualties.

Shelling continued later in the day, targeting Slovyansk, where several other buildings were also damaged. There was no word of casualties.

I don't dnow whether it is a credible source or not, but according to different sources in Russian Internet, anti-Kiev militants report that 1 or 2 (it differs depending on the source) civilians were killed by Ukrainian attacks.

Caroline Louise, 23 May 2014 4:21pm

Recommend: 42

There's a civil war going on. It's largely unreported in the west right now, because they want the election to appear legitimate. But there is a civil war. Chaos, people fleeing their homes, the militias killing each other, even when they are notionally on the same side.

And if the sheer chaos wasn't enough - now Right Sector will be "guarding the polling stations"in Donetsk?

I mean come on - if the referendum wasn't legit, then neither is this. How can anyone discuss this as if it was polling day in Normal Town? This is polling day in Guernica.

illampu, 23 May 2014 4:40pm

Recommend: 23

Ukraine is not only a can of worms, but like an Afghanistan in the middle of Europe as well. No amount of money will satisfy this concoction of Mafia and Fascism which disguises as state. If anybody has an idea how deadly and dangerous this brew Ukraine is it will be Putin. He obviously will thank God day and night that the US/EU in their idiocy took this heavy burden off Russia.

illampu, 23 May 2014 4:50pm

Recommend: 35

According to Lagarde the EU will have to come up with 180 Billion USD just to keep Ukraine over water. The US always only promise to shoulder the costs but make others pay for these costs. According to EU officials Ukraine will need furthermore 12 Billion USD every year just to pay for Russian gas. The people of EU will have to do all the working they can do to keep with their taxes Ukraine above water.

nomayor -> illampu, 23 May 2014 4:56pm

Recommend: 17

Not to worry: I was reading that immigrants save UK businesses 21 Billion Pounds a year, by keeping the labor prices low. Ukrainians will simply become 45 million of new volunteering slaves, ready to go to Germany and the UK and work in the worst possible jobs for peanuts.

Alexander Ch -> NottaBot, 23 May 2014 6:04pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wwr5Rq92DsM - Karlovka, see the tattoo, one of them, Battalion of Donbass (Right Part, Leader - Dmitry Yarosh is presidential candidate )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BACqVa0irWk

Lyubov57, 23 May 2014 6:26pm

Recommend: 17

According to the source of the SBU, the office found that sponsored the power confrontation December at Bank and on January 19, on Hrushevsky Petro Poroshenko .

"The investigation of incidents, we managed to track financial flows, which were received in payment of extremist actions on Maidan. It is not excluded that this money were paid services militants " Right sector ", which has taken the storming of the presidential administration on 1 December, and bloody confrontation with the soldiers of "Berkut" on January 19, on the street Grushevskogo. According to our data, the lion's share of which came from Peter Poroshenko, " said he.

As previously reported, Petro Poroshenko , speaking from the rostrum of the Maidan on 26 January, called on all euromaidan tenancy to thank and applaud the football ULTRAS .

"I promise for the night to restore the pavement and that spoiled at the stadium "Dynamo," said Poroshenko .

He is as guilty as the other members of the junta, but it is very convenient for US. So the United States does a colored revolution in the underdeveloped countries. Poor Ukraine.

vivianvivian -> Lyubov57, 23 May 2014 8:17pm

Thanks for the link. It seems to me that the election will change nothing if the next president supports the neoNazi groups.

zigagiz, 23 May 2014 6:50pm

May 23 , the commander of the People's Militia Donbass Igor Gunmen Sloviansk urged people to evacuate.

In order to preserve the lives and property of civilians , Igor Strelkov was ordered to ban conduct artillery fire within the city , as it was brought to the command of the Ukrainian army .

However, in case of an attack on the city, militia commanders reserves the right to use weapons in case of military necessity . According to the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Slavic Anatolia Khmelevy , presently active preparation on the part of the Ukrainian army , so as soon as possible offensive.

According to reports, the Ukrainian army continue to prepare for the assault Sloviansk using heavy artillery and aviation .

http://slavgorod.com.ua/news/article/1058/

Llanfairpwllgwyngyl, 23 May 2014 7:15pm

Recommend: 16

Are you still following the agenda of US State Department and German Bundestag and denying the active role of Neonazis in Ukraine?

Watch this YouTube video: a dead bodies of 'Donbass' punitive forces, killed recently by anti-nazi resistance in Eastern Ukraine. Watch the tattoos.

A picture: https://www.facebook.com/anatolijsharij/posts/10204044610183987:0

Vatslav Rente, 23 May 2014 7:17pm

Recommend: 19

The battalion "Donbass" sponsored by the oligarch Kolomoisky, has got in an ambush arranged by the separatists.

May 22, "the Western Donbass area under control of the Ukrainian authorities and battalion "Donbass". The time has come to Donetsk" - said Semyon Semenchenko (commander battalion "Donbass").

On the morning of may 23, the battalion was ambushed separatists near the village of Karlovci, Donetsk region. Shots were fired from large-caliber machine guns and armored personnel carriers. According to various data, in fighting killed at least four people, half of the battalion received injuries of different severity. http://korrespondent.net/ukraine/3367922-pervyi-boi-komom-chto-my-znaem-o-batalone-donbass Unfortunately a lot of information in the media lies or propaganda . However, the fact when military action is carried out using helicopters, armored personnel carriers, tanks, MPADS, mine-thrower, large-caliber automatic weapons - the number of killed, wounded and prisoners under-reported by all parties to the conflict.

I understand what it means to stop the anti-terrorist operation for the government in Kiev: the loss of two large regions of the country, creation of precedent, the loss of power. But... a hired army oligarchs, the national guard and the regular army showed its not fighting capacity, poor coordination, poor communication will lead to even more meaningless casualties among the soldiers and civilian population. Since no one in Kyiv do not intend to lead real negotiations with the separatists or the introduction of peacekeeping forces in Eastern Ukraine. It remains to expect total terror Pro-Ukrainian forces in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions. I do not think that the elections of the President of Ukraine will seriously affect the situation, because of the reasons listed above.

WearyofthisSht. 23 May 2014 7:38pm

Recommend: 16

Armed clashes in east as Ukraine counts down to election

...the separatists said the pro-Ukrainian force, backed by members of Ukraine's ultra-nationalist First Sector, opened fire first. Locals, who mostly stayed indoors once the shooting began in the early morning, had contrasting views of who was to blame.

A 52-year-old woman who gave only her first name, Valentina, laid the blame at the door of Kiev, which is using the Ukrainian army in an "anti-terrorist operation" against the separatists.

"Why do they (the Kiev authorities) do this? Why is Europe silent? Everybody was living normally but now everyone is interfering".

Asked if she would vote on Sunday, Valentina said: "Who should I vote for - for people who are killing us and shooting at us? The answer is No!".

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/23/us-ukraine-crisis-idUSBREA4M05420140523

Russell Stevens, 23 May 2014 7:40pm

Recommend: 21

"On Friday, the Donbass paramilitary group, which operates with the tacit backing of Kiev, said it had been ambushed by separatist forces"

This is a militia made up of volunteers as they cannot get the Ukranian army to attack their own people. Most of the volunteers are ultra nationalists and Right Sector, which is exactly why the "seperatists" said they were setting up road blocks i the first place, to defend themselves from neo Nazi types coming from the West.

The EU must stop backing neo Nazi militias attacking east Ukraine, it is not that they are attacking east Ukraine, it is the other way around. This situation must be resolved by negotiations, not neo Nazi volunteer militias.

Rob Purcell, 23 May 2014 7:44pm

Recommend: 25

People don't realise how much the fight against the Nazis is a part of modern national identity. Russians suffered immensely in WW2 and bore the brunt of Hitler's armies. For Putin to be compared to Hitler isn't just considered as an extreme insult against Putin (far more so than it would be if applied to a UK politician) but also against the majority of Russians who vote for him, and even those who don't (as it belittles Hitler's crimes in comparison),

Lyubov57 -> Rob Purcell, 23 May 2014 7:53pm

Recommend: 19

Yes, this is insulting for the Russian people, for each family, which has fought with the Nazis, including me and my family. Now the US is behaving in the world as an aggressor, i.e. Hitler with his sadism. Compare: how many people died in the Crimea in February-May 2014? Nobody! But Kiev junta has already killed thousands of people! Death on the Maidan is also on It`s conscience!

Lyubov57, 23 May 2014 8:09pm

Recommend: 9

The leader of the "Right sector reported that often makes the secret exits in Donetsk region for collection of intelligence information.

Earlier, presidential candidate of Ukraine Dmitry jarosch said that for the return of the Crimea to Ukraine's need to deploy guerrilla movement involving the Crimean Tatars.

It is the candidate for President of Ukraine. I wonder how will he get the victory of Poroshenko? or he will become the Minister of defense? SS reborn!

JanZamoyski -> Lyubov57

He won't. He is a lunatic and a fool who doesn't understand that by aggressive rethoric and violence he is partly responsible for separatist movement getting some traction in Ukraine.

I would say that as much as 90 % of Ukrainians can see it or oppose him from other reasons. Poroshenko will win because despite all the typical anti oligarch rhetoric's here and at home, people see him as a moderate figure, a businessman and a pragmatic figure. He understands that Russia is a trade partner and that to survive Ukraine needs normal diplomatic relationship with it.

Is he a second coming of Jesus ? Sure he isn't, but which politician is ? He is the best choice Ukrainians have.

Vatslav Rente, 23 May 2014 8:13pm

Recommend: 16

Well, not everything is so rosy. Putin cautious politician, pragmatic, secretive, authoritarian. I would say he got a taste of power. Nevertheless, in recent years, he has seriously raised the international image of the country. Took a number of complex and controversial decisions that are contrary to the interests of the West but supported by the Russians. I admit Russia has not achieved significant economic growth, huge corruption and impunity. But I think Putin patriot of Russia. I will say this billionaire-patriot better than just a billionaire. In my country always has to choose between two evils. Russian tradition )))(((

Chriswr, 23 May 2014 8:47pm

Recommend: 13

Putin doesn't want to absorb Eastern Ukraine into Russia or see it go independent because that would leave the remainder of the Ukraine strongly pro-west and eventually a member of The EU and NATO.

He'd prefer Ukraine to remain whole and be a buffer zone between Russia and the West, and to exert influence over it via the economically important Russian minority who live in the industrialised East. That's why he he keeps backing down like this, he has to be careful not to push too hard and actually split the country.

As for the US they would have loved the Ukraine as a whole to turn to the West but now Putin has stopped that happening I don't know what they want. Obama just looks bored with the whole thing now.

Joe Vince -> Chriswr, 23 May 2014 8:55pm

Recommend: 12

But it is sad for those who have to put up living within a country with a sizable pro Nazi minority, especially when that minority has been given the reins of law and (dis)order through the US / EU meddling.

WearyofthisSht, 23 May 2014 10:03pm

Recommend: 9

TOREZ, Ukraine-

Paramilitaries from a group organized by presidential candidate Oleh Lyashko stormed a local government building in a sleepy eastern Ukrainian mining city and assassinated a pro-Russian separatist, shooting him in the head and abdomen on May 23. A second man sustained three gunshot wounds to his neck and abdomen and was fighting for his life in a nearby hospital after the attack.

The surprise attack by the Lyashko-backed militia came around 3 p.m., when five armed men stormed the Torez City Hall in Donetsk Oblast. The gunmen immediately headed towards an office on the first floor, where they opened fire on the two men. Both were active supporters of the Kremlin-backed, breakaway Donetsk People's Republic.

Witnesses described seeing a group of men dressed head to toe in all black clothing leaping from a bourdeaux-colored Neva off-road vehice and storming the building. Some said the attackers resembled "ninjas."
Lyashko claimed responsibility for the deadly assault in a post published on his Facebook page.

"Soldiers from the Lyashko Battalion 'Ukraine' have cleared and liberated the city government building from the 'Colorados' in Torez, Donetsk Oblast," Lyashko wrote, referring to the the pro-Russian separatists who have adopted the black-and-orange St. George's ribbon, a symbol of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, as their own.

"Two terrorists were killed, while among our men were no injuries. Glory to Ukraine!" he added.

Lyashko is trying to boost his Presidential credentials, no doubt – "Time to get tough with the Federalists!" Now don't think that Poroshenko will be any better – he funded the Pravi Sector in the Maidan, and he has gone on record that he will use force in Eastern Ukraine. (That's maybe why he's in the lead for the Presidential race…)

Vatslav Rente, 23 May 2014 10:13pm

Recommend: 2

Finally came a Pro-Ukrainian trolls. Guys, I like your stubbornness, unshakable belief in something that would not happen in Ukraine, the fault of Russia and Putin personally. Next time, before you make a coup - look. May be in your territory hosted the Russian fleet and near more than a million ethnic Russians who are tired of your country and crazy revolutionaries. Can be Crimea...

You may not believe the statements of Putin, You may not believe the Russian media, You can not believe in the YouTube video. But then, open the Ukrainian news website

http://korrespondent.net/ukraine/

and You will see that in Ukraine total Bedlam, which was caused by the new Ukrainian government.

P.S. Russia is no difference whom to sell gas - the main thing that the gas had not stolen and on time paid for.

RobertNeville, 23 May 2014 10:19pm

Recommend: 4

I think recognising the Ukraine election result is a bold move by Putin, because even if the Sniper Coup government win, they will find themselves in charge of a divided country, with Crimea already gone, but the real diplomatic blow is still to come and will catch the US completely off guard.

It's too strange how we got here, with the US losing global authority and a nose-diving economy. The cultural influence of the US over the years has been pervasive. So much great film/TV/music culture and I can understand how it was natural to seek a certain leadership from the US over the post-war period, but how did they blow it so badly ?

Why didn't NATO just fold when the USSR did ? Why seek global superiority and bankrupt yourself, making so many enemies in the process ?

The US was right-wing in the Sixties and it is right-wing today, but it had more brains in the Sixties. I'm not gloating, I think they're in for a hard time. RIP.

[May 21, 2014] China, Russia sign $400 billion gas deal

The Washington Post

With the stroke of a pen, Russia significantly shifted its economic relations with its neighbors, creating a major new export market to the east and reducing its reliance on European customers at a time when its relations with the West are at their lowest point since the Cold War.

... ... ...

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew appealed to China in a visit last week to avoid actions that might limit the impact of recent Western sanctions against Russia. But a U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak by name, said the United States would distinguish between deals that have long been in the works - such as this one - and new agreements that seek to fill space left by U.S. and European Union sanctions.

... ... ...

Russian officials on Wednesday also hinted at a possible "prepayment" totaling $25 billion.

[May 21, 2014] China and Russia Reach 30-Year Gas Deal

NYTimes.com

Mr. Putin told reporters after the signing ceremony that the price of the gas for China was based on the market price of oil, just as it was for European countries.

"The gas price formula as in our other contracts is pegged to the market price of oil and oil products," Itar-Tass quoted Mr. Putin as saying.

The deal is the largest ever for the Russian natural gas industry, he said.

Russia will invest $55 billion in infrastructure for transporting the gas to China, said Alexei B. Miller, the chief executive officer of Gazprom.

AK, US

This gas deal shows that the US attempts to isolate Russia economically are destined to fail. These attempts are getting little traction even in Europe. Nobody wants to take economic pain to help people in the State Department advance their agenda. And countries like China and India will absolutely refuse to treat Russia like a pariah state. These countries have their own economic and geopolitical interests. Working with Russia helps them further their interests. The relative economic power of these countries will continue to grow.

The US-centered world order established after the fall of the Soviet Union was never going to last. Instead of trying to maintain it, US policymakers should think about how to act in a multipolar world. Considering other countries' interests – now, that would be a change!


Nick Wright, Halifax, Nova Scotia 4 hours ago

The geostrategic and environmental implications of this deal are huge.

The West, in a hamfisted continuation of the Cold War, has been trying to isolate and contain a resurgent Russia. However, it found itself strategically and tactically outplayed by Vladimir Putin as it blundered around in his neighbourhood--Ukraine, Syria and Iran--and its Cold War bluster and saber-rattling over military interference in sovereign nations just look hypocritical to educated people worldwide.

On the environmental front, China looks good for succeeding in lowering its reliance on energy from coal, while Europe--especially Germany--is building more coal-fired generating capacity, and Canada is offending the world with its determination to develop its massive, polluting oil sands. Western claims of superiority on the environmental front sound hollow by comparison.

Socially--from Ukraine, to Europe, to Canada, to the U.S.A.--the world is watching the rise of aggressive, intolerant, divisive parties of the extreme right in the West, raising the legitimate question of which of the world's regions are improving and which are in decline. Throw in Western levels of indebtedness, and the question becomes even more pointed.

And finally, Western chauvinism is pushing Asian countries into closer economic alliances--and who knows, perhaps eventually military ones as well. But it didn't have to turn out this way; we can change direction before things get worse; it's just a matter of political will.

Stephen Miller, Oakland

This deal is just the tip of the iceberg. Russia has astonishingly huge reserves of gas, and all those oil and coal burning plants are going to need to switch over in the coming years to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Russia will become the undisputed energy superpower and likely overtake the US eventually.

As the easy oil disappears and energy demands continue to rise globally, prices will rise very dramatically. More gas and oil from fracking and tar sands and shale will slow the rise, but eventually the prices will go up.

The US and Europe can whine about Russian gas all they want, but in the end, everybody pays.

Quandry, is a trusted commenter LI,NY

Although this is very important to the US's and the world's survival from an environmental perspective, this is another faux pas upon Obama's and the EU's statecraft. The big winners in all of this are Russia who now can thumb its nose at the US, and even more China which who will pay less than the EU for its gas. Unfortunately, China has continued to prevail in its economic policy over the US from Iraq to Africa, while the US has paid in lives and unrequited financial aid. Our statecraft can use some changes and improvement.

Judyw, cumberland,

Congratulaton to our State Department who have made this deal possible. Oh yes our Congress helped out too. By our reckless of expansion of NATO we have driven the Russian into the army of China. I hope we are proud of ourselves for doing that.

I have never seen the US government make such a mess of Foreign Policy as this government has made. And I don;t mean to leave out the government from Bill Clinton forward - they have contributed to this mess with the the whole Kosovo creation.

It is important that we now recognize that we are driving countries away from the US who are sick of our efforts of trying to "run the world", be "the indispenable power" and all that malarky.

Our pivot to Asia seems more like it was Russia's pivot to Asia while we sat and watched. Perhaps it would be better if we did more watching and less acting. It seems that whenever we interfere, we create more hatred of the US and increase our separation from the world.

I hope this lesson on "the pivot to Asia" has taught us a lesson. We thought we could punish and sanctions Russia to behave as we dictated. We just found out we can't bully Russia. In the world today Sanctions have little meaning as they are easily broken by countries who have no interest in "toeing the US line".

We had wanted Russia as friend, but our actions have driven into the arms of China. Congratulations USA -- you just had another foreign policy failure.

Efren, Texas 6 hours ago

All of this is the result of not understanding that the world is headed to a multipolar world, and that the US must learn to deal with it (see conference of Bill Clinton in Davos). Why does US insist on destabilization of governments claiming democracy interests? Don't you remember all dictatorial regimes supported by the US in Latin America? Now, US is so engaged in bringing back the cold war. It's not only Russia-China being together now, most of main Latin American countries have leftist governments. Don't be surprised if they start achieving important deals with Russia and China.

Let's take it easy. No empire last forever. It would be better for US to respect others and try to build a leadership based on ethical and real reasons, not on bullying everybody else who thinks differently.

Smartlegov Oleg, Moscow 7 hours ago

This is an epic deal and just on time. Putin compromised the price, but showed how quickly he can respond in a big wave to US/EU symbolic sanctions.

Cato, California 5 hours ago

Another positive step by Russia and China in brokering a deal that doesn't involve the West. Please note that the almighty USD wasn't invited to this party. The deal, coupled with massive historic accumulations of gold by both countries, spells doom for the world's reserve currency. This will be over the next 10 years the nightmare of all nightmares for Americans when we lose world currency status. A word to America: Hope is not a strategy.

Edwin, NY 4 hours ago

China is learning how to do its things. I'm actually glad for them and for Russia also. I'm a citizen of the United States but I'm tired of foreign policies. Its time to realize that we are not the only kid in the block. Let them join in and play the game of capitalism. Focus our money and our strength our Nation in serving our people, in educating them, and helping them become more competitive in this global marketplace instead of throwing money and effort to keep others down while we stand at the top. Those days are over. Lets work together, accept our differences, and be the best we can be. Invest in healthcare, social programs, education, research, technology and we will remain at the top no matter what without the need to isolate or bomb everyone that stands on our way

Babeouf, Ireland 7 hours ago

The US desperately needs joined up thinking in it foreign policy. The US 'Pivot to Asia' to contain China may make sense. The US funding of the coup in Ukraine may make sense. Doing both at the same time doesn't make sense. It is US foreign policy which has provided the incentive for Russia and China to draw closer together. Of course for imperial powers foreign policy appears just another part of domestic policy.

With the result that, due to political competition in the US, a rational US foreign policy seems out of reach.

PuppetMaster11 -> FighTheBrainwashing

Even better. NYT, yesterday, already ran with the story of the failure of the gas deal.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/21/world/asia/china-russia.html?google_editors_picks=true

China and Russia Fail to Reach Agreement on Gas Plan

I'd like to see them eat their hats.

PuppetMaster11, 21 May 2014 6:14pm

The US attempt to sever the economic tie between Europe and Russia forced Russian into an alliance with China.

Now, a lot depends on whether this rearrangement will congeal into a permanent line of confrontation, or the new Russia-China alliance will work as a leverage to entice Europe away from the confrontational US.

raindancer68, 21 May 2014 6:15pm

Energy makes the world go around, not money. The Russians are in a strong position, as the western world tries to make up for the falling energy dynamic in their economies by scrabbling around for fracked oil and gas.

structurequity, 21 May 2014 6:21pm

I find it of interest that no one is reporting on the meeting of nations where this sideline contract was signed, The CICA meeting is tremendously important for the entire world and seems not to be covered by Western press or its political drivers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conference_on_Interaction_and_Confidence-Building_Measures_in_Asia
and http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/n/2014/0521/c90883-8730684.html
but, am unable to access http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/ seems blocked at every road I travel to get to it.

titipap

21 May 2014 6:23pm

The price that Russia was formerly selling gas to Ukraine at was $268.50 per thousand cubic metres. Now, thanks to the so-called international community's destabilisation, Russia is selling its gas to China instead, and getting a 30 per cent higher price.

So, as less Russian gas is available to Europe, the Ukrainians and people in the rest of Europe can look forward to paying more. Well done, our leaders! But no doubt their masters in Saudi Arabia and Qatar will be able to provide supplies, at rather higher prices.

MyDown titipap, 21 May 2014 6:32pm

Not that simple. Urengoy from which gas goes to Europe is 5 thousand kms away from Yakutiya and 6 thousands kms away from Sakhalin from which gas will go to China.

Mr1Cynical, 21 May 2014 6:23pm

This has gone under the radar but Rouhani is also in China perhaps its to do with this ?
U.S. Issues Threats Over Pending Russia-Iran Oil Deal
FTMDaily.com – Russia and Iran are forging ahead with a controversial oil-for-goods deal that is being criticized by Washington as a violation of Iran's interim nuclear agreement. .

Under an interim agreement reached with world powers last year, Iran is permitted to continue exporting no more than 1 million barrels a day of oil to six countries: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.

Now, Russia is offering to buy 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day, which Washington says will violate the terms of the interim agreement.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has already begun threatening more 'sanctions.
Iran's response: The country refuses to 'wait for America's permission' to increase its oil exports.
On the surface, Washington is pointing to Iran's "violation" of the interim agreement. But, when you follow the money, you find something much different. Not only will a Russian-Iranian oil deal inject a massive amount of fresh revenue into Tehran while emboldening Russia, but the proposed oil deal will completely sidestep the U.S. dollar. rest of article

http://ftmdaily.com/daily-briefing/040914/

Will May 20th Go Down In History As the Day the U.S. "Petrodollar" Monopoly Was Finally Shattered?
May 21, 2014
The struggle over Ukraine has caused Russia to completely re-evaluate the financial relationship that it has russia-dollarwith the United States. If it starts trading a lot of oil and natural gas for currencies other than the U.S. dollar, that will be a massive blow for the petrodollar, and it could end up dramatically – and negatively – impacting the average American's current standard of living. Let me explain.rest of article

http://www.munknee.com/will-may-20th-go-history-day-u-s-petrodollar-monopoly-finally-shattered/

ID5677229 Mr1Cynical, 21 May 2014 6:36pm

…The struggle over Ukraine has caused Russia to completely re-evaluate the financial relationship that it has russia-dollarwith the United States.

Nonsense! The West's reaction regarding Ukraine has been entirely immaterial. Putin has been committed to the geopolitical policy of Eurasianism for a decade, as have those in positions of power and influence around him.

Mr1Cynical ID5677229

Yes but i think you'll find Iran and Syria are a part of that plan Iran the wildcard I think they wanted the west to lift sanctions but realize now that the G5+ 1 are demanding that Iran gives up their ICBMS as part of the Nuclear deal it won't happen so Iran has joined the triparte and will now ignore sanctions. Iv'e heard they now have the S300 So Israel becomes less of a threat I think the US fck fest in the Ukraine has forced Russia China Iran to man up, and put the crazies from the shite house back in their boxes

John Mack, 21 May 2014 6:28pm

Truly ironic. Mich of the US long term strategy has been to prevent China from becoming dependent on Russia for energy. That was the point of the Iraqi war. The US feared a Russian-French plan to assassinate Saddam Hussein and replace him immediately with a stable military government that would agree to respect certain human rights an Shiite rights and Kurdish rights. That would have made Russia in control of the largest store of energy resources. The US feared that would mean that Russia gained a position where it vastly increase the costs of energy to China, Japan, and India, or even starve them at least partially of their energy needs, this crippling their economies or making them ally with Russia. So here we are, over Ukraine ...

elti97

Europe's long-term energy policy seems clear: reduce energy dependence on Russia. Fortunately there are good alternatives: oil and gas imports from the Middle East, Africa and North America, fracking, nuclear, renewables and increased efficiency.

With a little smart planning, in 5-10 years time, Russian threats to cut off the gas will be a mild annoyance. More importantly, a variety of competing suppliers will give European countries greater bargaining power.

AlexRussia elti97

If you decline dependence from Russia then you increase dependence from someone and it is not fact that the second is good for you

elti97 AlexRussia

Wrong. If you increase the number of potential suppliers, you gain bargaining power.

For example, if Estonia has the option to buy gas from Russia, Norway or the US, it is obviously in a better position than if it could only buy from Russia. That is exactly why a massive gas terminal is currently in construction in Estonia.

Estonia will probably still buy some gas from Russia, but at a better price.

Robert Sandlin elti97

Dream on.Estonia is one country Russia wouldn't mind seeing fall off into the Baltic Sea.

Robert Sandlin elti97, 21 May 2014 7:41pm

On yes,who would ever doubt that gas from North Africa and the Middle East wasn't a reliable source,cough,cough,Libya,Al Queda,cough. And were you talking about the DOA Nabucco pipeline.

But seriously, I have no doubt giving up Russian gas could be done. But the question is WHY in the first place give up a cheap easy supply. To pay out the a$$ for uncertain other supplies of gas.

kenlinuk, 21 May 2014 6:39pm

Russia tells the EU to go frack itself. China and Russia stand united against the US-EU sponsored fascist coup in Ukraine! UKIP landslide is a certainty. Good times for democratic freedom. Fuck the EU!

Kingston Elenwo kenlinuk, 21 May 2014 8:05pm

It's Frack the EU... If ur gonna say it, say it right :)

ID7776906, 21 May 2014 6:40pm

West always treated Russia like a dog anyways. They`re better off going East.

burnageblue11 ID7776906, 21 May 2014 7:09pm

I find it all very sad. I would much rather closer ties with Russia and see a declining US influence in Europe.

What we have done, is push an economic neighbor East. We are now fully dependent on US gas imports(with transit costs).We are now more dependent on the United States than ever.

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Huge hike in Gas bills this winter.

indietinker

21 May 2014 6:41pm

this is all in the US plan for Russia and China am afraid to say.

http://thediplomat.com/2014/05/dont-contain-russia-push-it-east/

"Instead of containment, the US should block Russia's ambitions in Europe while encouraging them in Asia".

Last month, The New York Times reported that in the wake of the Ukraine Crisis, U.S. President Barack Obama had decided to abandon the reset with Russia in favor of a policy of containment 2.0. According to the report

Given Russia's intransigence, it's completely understandable that Obama would be tempted to pursue this approach. It's also a mistake. Instead of containing Russia completely, the U.S. should block its ambitions in Europe while encouraging it to turn eastward towards Asia.

Despite the hopes of many in the post-Cold War era, the U.S. and Russia are not going to have compatible interests in Eastern Europe anytime soon. Russia will always see this as its natural domain, which is a status that the U.S. is unwilling to grant Moscow, especially since NATO's expansion over the past two decades. On the other hand, as John Allen Gay recently noted, American and Russian interests are almost perfectly compatible throughout Asia. It is in this region that the strategic rationale of the reset was always on the firmest ground.

The challenge is forcing Russia to turn eastward. Europe's dynamism throughout the modern era has forced the Russian state to adopt a westward orientation. This is reflected in the country's geography - with most of the major cities being located in western Russia - and deeply ingrained in Moscow's strategic culture.

Over the long-term, it's nearly inevitable that the Asian Century will force Russia to reorient itself towards the east. Indeed, as I have noted before, this is already taking place to a growing degree. Still, the question for U.S. policymakers is what actions can be taken to accelerate this natural progression?

The first step is blocking Russia's ability to expand westward. This doesn't mean that the U.S. and its NATO allies have to deploy troops to Ukraine. All that is required is to introduce greater uncertainty into Putin's calculus about Russia's ability to successfully expand westward. Most importantly, the U.S. must disabuse Putin of the notion that Russia could easily take and hold territory in Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

The more Putin fears that an invasion would expose the weaknesses of the Russian armed forces, and either fail completely or turn into a prolonged debacle in the mold of Afghanistan during the 1980s, the less likely he is to order Russian troops across the border. The good news is that Putin appears to already have these fears, as evidenced by his restraint in an overt invasion of eastern Ukraine.

In addition, the U.S. should continue underscoring its commitment to the security of all NATO member states, and intentionally create ambiguity as to how it might react to Russian expansion in non-NATO countries in Eastern Europe. This will increase Putin's apprehension about becoming too adventurous in Europe. After all, he has already squandered Russia's influence in most of Ukraine and can hardly endure another embarrassing international setback.

At the same time, the U.S. should encourage Russia to expand its influence in Asia, and thus give Putin an outlet in which to act upon his grand ambitions for Russia. The most immediate area of focus should be in Central Asia, where the U.S. is currently withdrawing from Afghanistan. Given Russia's largely congruent interests with the U.S. in Central Asia, Moscow should be encouraged to play a leading role in helping to fill the vacuum the U.S. withdrawal is bound to create, as it is already starting to do with India in the region. Moscow and Delhi can help ensure a modicum of stability in Central Asia even as they cooperate in opposing radical Islamist terrorist groups. This would be entirely to America's benefit.

Furthermore, as Russia has been focused elsewhere in recent years, China has quickly filled the role Moscow historically has played in Central Asia. Already, many analysts see China as the most important external actor in Central Asia, a position that Russia has held since the 19th Century. Beijing is in the process of trying to further entrench its new position further through organizations like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and its new Silk Road Economic Belt.

As Russia reengages in Central Asia, it will increasingly find itself clashing with China for influence in the region. This would inevitably create tensions in the increasingly close relationship between Beijing and Moscow. These tensions would force Russia to concentrate more on the long-term threat a rising China poses to its national security. In grappling with this challenge, Russia will naturally seek to assert itself more forcefully in Eastern Asia to hedge against China.

Mr1Cynical -> indietinker

To try and spin this as an American plan is wishful thinking I think you'll find the NYT is hailing defeat as victory. The Dollar as the worlds reserve currency has been in decline for many years this deal between Russia and China will hasten it The EU won't save the US, it will only ever be it's prostitute with little economic clout outside of Germany.

loveminuso -> indietinker, 21 May 2014 6:56pm

Yeah right...The only problem here is this shit might work in Africa and the ME, with one big difference...Russia and China have Nukes with the capability of strategic delivery...

"We have powerful enemies but we don't have powerful friends, that's why we need the support of such a giant as China," said Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Centre for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow.

Even the threat of use by this new alliance will set the American working class against it's 'leadership'; and the Americans know how to deal with criminals - even those in leadership positions...I think Obama, and those NeoCons who own him have huge problems right at Home suddenly. The Revolution is coming...

docrhw -> Mr1Cynical, 21 May 2014 7:01pm

I agree about the reserve currency thing. One day we Americans will wake up and discover that the dollar is now part of a basket of currencies needed to buy raw materials. It will happen gradually, but I think is inevitable. The sad thing is that Congress, the Fed, and of course the American public are completely oblivious to this issue. (At least the first two don't talk about it.) When that day comes it will be mighty ugly here.

Robert Sandlin indietinker, 21 May 2014 7:17pm

So basically what your saying is that since Russia is to feel nothing for Europe. Then in a crisis they'll have no remorse about destroying it in a nuclear holocaust. OK,maybe they'll get the point.Now me, if I was a European leader, I'd want to have Russia as friendly and connected to me as possible.

Because countries friendly and interconnected don't want to destroy each other. And with thousands of nukes, and a rightful paranoia about being attacked by the west, I'd want as much friendship as I could get with Russia.

But maybe I'm wrong, maybe the right thing is to slap Russia around like the EU is doing now. Spit in their face and all. After all just how mad would a country once ruled by Stalin get anyway. But then maybe dusting off the old bomb shelters might be prudent. Just encase following the US's advise isn't the best idea. It was Britain that followed the US into Iraq right. I forget,how did that work out anyway.

Mr1Cynical docrhw, 21 May 2014 7:20pm

A lot of American Patriots want the Dollar to collapse, to get rid of the Fed. introduce a new Currency, kick the thieves and jackals out ,rebuild the constitution,.and start afresh, these people who've run the US into the ground are neocon globalists inhuman completely without reason,barking mad Narcissists For all our sakes i hope you get rid of them.

ID075732, 21 May 2014 6:45pm

So the EU$A have blundered into the Ukrainian kitchen.

Vicky Nuland's half-baked attempt with the cookies was a failed recipe. Even Chaz has now brought his flaky biscuit to the table. The only question now remaining is who could believe any of them could make anything?

So it's not surprising Putin's gone to the Chinese!

kenlinuk, 21 May 2014 6:46pm

US loan repayments to China are going to end up in Russia. Sweet justice!

tfernando, 21 May 2014 6:54pm

I ask all Americans to read this article without burying head in sand.

http://www.munknee.com/will-may-20th-go-history-day-u-s-petrodollar-monopoly-finally-shattered/

The US really shot itself on the foot. This self-inflicted wound of interfering to destabilize other countries for its own interest, the US will only accelerate its decline that should/could have been avoided with sensible thinking.

I live in the US and, as it is, times are far from being good compared to what it was just ten years ago. And despite the fact there is not much indications the country's economy is improving, the US wants to act as if no economic or financial crisis took place and wants to live on just 'confidence'.

Well, I think it is very sandy ending for the people of this nation who, to begin with, has a tough me making ends meet.

lesnouveauxpauvre tfernando

There still is enough people with good jobs to keep the illusion afloat. I live in San Francisco and it's a bubble here in Silicon Valley. There are a lot of young people like myself and younger with good jobs making really good money. They have no concern about what you are talking about; and you could never convince them their bubble they are living in is not real.

They think this country is wonderful and so do all people here who still support Obama; including gays who don't care Obama has a 'kill list', and can imprison any American without cause; as long as he supports gay marriage they and a lot of people will support war crimes!?

It seems unbelievable but it is true. I have gotten into arguments with people about this; and I am gay.

burnageblue11, 21 May 2014 6:58pm

The USA can now fill that big void that is left in the gas market. It can supply Gas at vastly inflated prices knowing the EU,UK are now fully dependent on all they gas they can get

EU leaders want sacking for this.They are not looking after Europeans interests only those off the corporate USA.We will pay the price.

evolution2now burnageblue11, 21 May 2014 7:07pm

Europe getting American Natural Gas is fantasy. This is a fact for at least the next 10 years.

richiep40 burnageblue11, 21 May 2014 7:25pm

Despite the US pretends to be into free trade it is a lie, even though it basically runs WTO.

LNG exports from the US are not in a free market, they are restricted to only about 20 countries which the US classifies as FTA agreement countries. These FTA trade deals are almost as catastrophic for the client nations as the proposed TTIP deal with the EU.

I am a member of 38 degrees, I was surveyed yesterday by them about my views on TTIP. Although 38 degrees have many priorities, my vote was to put TTIP close to the top of their priority list ( I am only a member, nothing to do with those that run 38 degrees, so don't blame 38 degrees for my opinions).

JVC120, 21 May 2014 7:00pm

America should reevaluate the direction of ots foreign policies. It is antagonizing a few important countries and the remaking are sitting on the fences or are looking from the sidelines.
Can US afford the vives of militaristic arrogant and unreasonable messages it is sending to the Asian ,African,and Latin American?

Its foreignolicy has been hijacked by the warmongers who have never seen a war from frontline and have never wavered on supporting a war from close distance.

Blenheim, 21 May 2014 7:02pm

"Russia's new pipeline to China will increase competition for natural gas from 2018 and will most likely increase the cost we pay for natural gas here in the European Union. It will certainly increase the pressure on European countries to find alternative gas supplies," he said.

Yup, you just have to love the way the west handled the Ukraine situation. Brilliant!

KingRolo, 21 May 2014 7:02pm

Interesting article on ZH

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-21/russia-dumps-record-amount-us-treasurys-here-what-it-buying

evolution2now, 21 May 2014 7:04pm

Reducing China's massive dependence on coal based energy is a great win for the world. This deal does more for the environment than any western climate regulations could possibly do.

Let's not forget India, which also relies heavily on coal. I would guess they are next to make a deal with Russia.

Babeouf, 21 May 2014 7:05pm

Yes this is the first mega deal which breaks the ice it won't be the last though will it. The US regime will still continue attacking both Russian and China. It will still bore the world rigid with its ' Pivot to Asia' and its 'Isolation of Russia' . The really really funny part is the sudden suggestion that the EU's Russia policy is actually going to raise gas prices for European customers. Must be part of the EU's new competition strategy built on raising production costs for the various European based industries that consume large amounts of energy. Still you must admit that the EU's Russian policy has worked a treat for the Chinese government. So among the nations of Europe there is at least one ' Manchurian Candidate'. The servile spirit of Europe's political leaders is only matched by the bone headed stupidity of their imperial US masters.


Peabody94

Nice deal, take a loss for a few years, smacks of desperation by Russia. It's nowhere near being a deal big enough to bother European supplies, Europe takes about 170 bn cubic meters a year, this is only for 38bn and from an undeveloped field. Desperate dealing at a low price.

So as Europe weans itself off Russian gas Gazprom takes a mighty big hit over time. That's what happens when you have a one trick pony economy and you need western technology to extract the minerals, one trick pony technology as well, decades behind the west.

AlexRussia Peabody94

Generally less and in Europe are important only a few countries - everything else is not so important

http://www.gazpromquestions.ru/en/foreign-markets/


Shiku101

Great job that EU is doing with antagonising Putin with the Ukrahinian saga. Now we have to bail out a broke country and pay more for the gas. Great news.

vr13vr Shiku101, 21 May 2014 7:28pm

This deal will definitely make it more difficult for Ukraine to claim any discount. Ukraine will have to eat at least this price and guess who will have to pay it? That's right, the "Western partners," a.k.a EU.

ID5677229, 21 May 2014 7:15pm

The contract [is for Russia ]to provide 38bn cubic metres of gas each year [to China at] .... about $350 (£207) per thousand cubic metres.

This deal has some symbolic value I suppose but otherwise it is a rather desperate and only partially successful move on Russia's part to shore up its export market for gas.

Reacting to Russia's aggression in Ukraine, a month ago the EU announced plans to effect a 25% cut in its gas imports from Russia by 2020. Since the EU has been importing 180bn cubic metres of gas a year Russia's deal with China barely makes up the shortfall. In fact, from Russia's viewpoint the situation is even worse: China will pay $30 per thousand cubic metres less than the EU has been paying; moreover, Ukraine's imports of Russian gas are going to be greatly reduced too.

vr13vr ID5677229

This deal is bigger than the current European deal, and it is muuuuuuch bigger than whatever reduction EU will be able to make in the future. China got some 9% of volume discount compared to EU prices, but that's reasonable given the volume. At the end of the day both countries will end up with newly developed infrustructure. And both will be better diversified to deal with "pressure" from the West. Not a bad deal at all.

mustspeak, 21 May 2014 7:17pm

@article:
"But one British energy expert warned last night that the move could drive up prices for European gas consumers who are becoming increasingly dependent on Russia and now face a competition for supplies"

Serves Britain and EU right, only pity and concern is that I happen to be British, so also EU citizen. The West's gerrymandering around the world is going to spectacularly bite their asses harder and harder as time goes by.

daylight101 mustspeak, 21 May 2014 7:22pm

It's unlikely. Russia already sells gas to Europe at premium price and setting it higher now might be self defeating in longer terms. I am sure that Russia will attempt to undermine the US gas proposal to EU by offering more competitive bargains.

SteveK9, 21 May 2014 7:21pm

The comment about 'finding financing' betrays the faulty economic thinking that pervades the West right now. If Russia does not import anything to build the pipeline, then 'financing' is irrelevant. The Russian state cannot run out of Rubles. The only question is whether this is a worthwhile investment of workers and materials. Since this is becoming a strategic question for Russia ... you can bet your ... they will 'find the financing'.

I don't know how much help China will be providing to this project but if there is one thing that China seems to be very capable of these days it is large construction projects.

natalifoley, 21 May 2014 7:25pm

Putin checkmates Obama in "gas war"
http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_05_21/Putin-checkmates-Obama-in-gas-war-0503/

MyDown, 21 May 2014 7:56pm

Just incredible: infrastructure investment from both sides will be more than $70
billion and will be the world's largest construction project, with Russia providing $55 billion up front and China $22 billion. Fuck my boots...

efreelittlehelps

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-20/birth-eurasia-russia-china-do-pipelineistan

burnageblue11, 21 May 2014 8:04pm

All this is fallout over the Crimea because off US hegemonic foreign policy. It was a Russian base to start with, its not like they were invading. We had to make a big song and dance over it, because the United States really wanted it as a warm water base for the US 6th fleet in Sevastopol.

It was never going to happen, we knew it, they knew it.

Sanctions, provocative rhetoric, more sanctions.

End result. New Cold war. Redirected gas supplies to China that Europe badly needed. The irony is, the United States will be totally unaffected. Europe will become dependent on US gas imports. How could European leaders allow this to happen. How could they pursue a US foreign policy that will have a detrimental affect on Europe European industry, and consumers.

Our leaders are nothing more than traitors.

It wont be the citizens off the United States freezing this winter. They wont be paying though the nose for gas, it will be us in the EU,UK.

Not sure how traitorous EU leaders who have screwed their own people, economies over will survive long term. Germany will be the biggest loser. Merkel pursuing US hegemonic foreign policy despite the fact German industry is very dependent on Russian imported supplies. German Business leaders were totally against Merkel position to start with.

Russia has said it will turn off supplies to Ukraine on June 3rd if their debt is not paid in full. And unless they pay in advance.

European supplies come through the Ukraine. This could get much worse.

I hope this winter is not a cold one.

mikebraksa Fednad

Europe will fall apart into three parts soon - that's all

Already has. Eastern EU states. Western EU states. And France.

Slo27, 21 May 2014 8:04pm

So, they are getting $350 from China and $380 from Europe and what will they do? Sell more to Russia and less to Europe .... Eeeh, not exactly.

BrissieSteve Slo27, 21 May 2014 9:19pm

The gas comes from totally different gas fields thousands of km apart and with different extraction costs. Geography wasn't one of your school subjects was it?

GAHenty, 21 May 2014 8:06pm

The significance is in the continued rise of China. Putin may believe himself clever but in any Chinese-Russia alliance Russia will quickly become the junior member. The provider of raw materials for the Chinese machine.

venerablejohn, 21 May 2014 8:12pm

Far be it from me to say "I saw this coming" but

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/15/ukraine-armed-conflict-east#comment-34409619

I saw this coming.

Taku2, 21 May 2014 8:16pm

Russia and China have to guard against America's sanctions-happy foreign policy, so the more business they can do together, it will be the more 'sanction-proof' their economies become.

We already see America gunning for China, in her attempt to delay China's ascendancy to top-dog status.

Eaglesson, 21 May 2014 8:27pm

What the article forget to mention is both countries with this deal are bypassing the (petro)dollar, so it will be in their domestic currencies.

Another bold move from both sides..After a similar bold move between Russians and Iranians short time ago

Russia and China took a small step toward undercutting the domination of the U.S. dollar as the international reserve currency on Tuesday when Russia's second biggest financial institution, VTB, signed a deal with the Bank of China to bypass the dollar and pay each other in domestic currencies.

Japan got the news and is running fast to get a piece of the deal, quoting that is paying a hefty price for US LNG...why should't they? And Russians have thought about that, the plan of a gas pipeline through North Korea are targeted for markets of South Korea and Japan.
In a period of one year neocons have done so much damage to US and Europe that it cannot be revoked any more. The biggest loosers are EU in this deal and right away after the deal Barroso send a pledge letter to Putin, pleading him to keep his gas running for Europe and (they were prepared to pay the price dictated by russians for Ukraine's gas supply)

wimberlin AlexRussia

In spite of all the space that the 'Prince's' stupid comments are receiving from the Guardian - in fact the US today is much more similar to Nazi Germany than any other country. Ask Edward Snowden, he has all the dirty details that the US does not want you do know. He is presently in Russia, so therefore all the anti-Russia hysteria.

Oh but not by Luke Harding - he is really good and never lies about Russia - no I certainly do not include him!

Ciarán Here

When you compare this deal to the "DEAL" Russia had with Ukraine since 1991- Russia lost - subsidised Ukraine to the tune of up to 300 billion it now seems that Russia has Ukraine and EU over a barrel. Russia won't be subsidising Ukraine a saving of 300 billion over the next 30 years and a gain of over 400 billion from China . I guess Russia with not be to concerned about others taking on the burden of Ukraine.....

daylight101 Ciarán Here

There will be some attempts to rebuild Ukraine but it will be not subsidising, I am sure.

finnja, 21 May 2014 8:42pm

Notably, also

the plans for South Stream, which does not go through Ukraine, are on track
, at least when it comes to the directly involved EU countries (like Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria) and Russia.

The question now is: will the EU force its Southeastern member states (the ones that depend on Russian gas) to fall on their swords in order to make a point and to prop up fracking and TTIP?

GAHenty natalifoley, 21 May 2014 9:26pm

Oh look. Articles from a Russian news corporation. No bias there then.

windies GAHenty, 21 May 2014 9:56pm

ABC, NBC or CNN, they do objectivity, they do equal points of view, don't they!!

American news is as bias as Russian news..

What is your point.

Mark Chaloner, 21 May 2014 8:47pm

Sounds like a good deal but it won't make the Russian economy grow. Russia needed this just to stand still. In the long term Russia can't do without the EU. Russia needs the EU as much as the EU needs Russia.

daylight101 Mark Chaloner

My understanding is that Russia can actually substitute many of its high-tech EU imports by chinese ones.

ploughmanlunch Mark Chaloner, 21 May 2014 9:04pm

Standing still might be more desirable than back tracking, as this still fragile Euro economy may yet do.
It's true that the EU and Russia would mutually benefit from unimpeded trade and commerce, but the EU, following the lead of the US appears to be willing to sacrifice it's own prosperity at the behest of US geo-political interests.

daylight101 Mark Chaloner, 21 May 2014 9:19pm

Russians will not quit EU market, I am sure. They will keep selling gas to EU and, probably, will even offer bargain to undermine the US gas proposal. They will compete, not leave.

bulldoggy, 21 May 2014 9:11pm

Reporter needs to get the story straight. One paragraph describes a deal, "ten years in the making". Another paragraph quotes a Russian spokesman who attributes the deal to western hostility. What it really looks like is Russia and China not letting a PR opportunity slip by without exploitation.

A deal ten years in the making wasn't spawned on western hostility. It was spawned by economic reality. An eastern Siberian gas field is conveniently close to China and half a planet away from Europe. I'd guess the low price China wrung out of Russia had a lot to do with Chinese perception that Russia has no other buyers for this gas.

knuckles66, 21 May 2014 9:18pm

Businessweek and Bloomberg both think the deal is more fumes....that the Chinese and Russians agreed on the volume to be shipped, but still have not agreed on the price. The Chinese will kick in 25 billion in pre-payment to fund the cost of building the pipeline, but the final pice will still be in negotiations.

Since the pipeline will take several years to build, they have plenty of time to fight over the price.

windies knuckles66, 21 May 2014 9:31pm

They will make it work, the "west" pisses them off..

American financial reporting are so boned faced one-sided, objective reporting is beyond them. Course they want it to fail.

The US/EU point of view is now redundant in their eyes.

richiep40 windies

The 'markets' and the western press have been predicting the collapse of the Chinese economy for more than a decade. It will not happen.

MyDown, 21 May 2014 9:22pm

Almost 700 comments, yet there is none about the agreement is somehow affecting gay rights. Strange, but it shows that Guardian readers are confused. )))

zchabj5, 21 May 2014 9:27pm

Much more important than the deal itself is the agreement to open up Russia to Chinese investment for infrastructure.

The UK has agreed to become a clearing house for the renminbi. Osborne is not stupid, we can see which way the wind is blowing, and it is blowing east. Israel has also made significant moves to encourage trade with China, to mitigate the fallout of US decline.

For last 20 centuries, China has had the largest GDP for 15 to 18 of them. The two centuries right after the industrial revolution saw European hegemony, brief lived, but the world will return to it's Asia dominated status quo.

MyDown, 21 May 2014 9:46pm

Economical and infrastructural aspects are significant, but political one is just huge. Talking to my Chinese friends - they are as excited on green light the deal brought as Russians are. The whole story is kind of step up in friendly relations between Russia and China and money is not the main issue.

followthemonkey PoiticalWatchDog, 21 May 2014 9:59pm

Saddam Hussein paid a high price but Russia and China are not defenceless like Iraq or Afghanistan. They're completely capable of defending their countries interest.

geoprobe, 21 May 2014 9:49pm

I think we need to thank the neo-cons in the Obama administration to apply the pressure to make this deal happen. Without them, the Russians might have held firm on their price and the Chinese might have held out for a lower price.

Due to the Americans' imperial might it brought these players to the table. It might be a bad move for American might, but it just might save the planet, as it will provide the Chinese a more climate friendly fuel than their current coal.

My hats off!

tiye60

About the pipeline "Sila Sibiri", from Gazprom website.
http://www.gazprom.com/about/production/projects/pipelines/ykv/

Wagram, 21 May 2014 9:52pm

"We have powerful enemies but we don't have powerful friends, that's why we need the support of such a giant as China," said Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Centre for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow.

Telling statement.

Robert Sandlin Wagram, 21 May 2014 10:53pm

And it works both ways.Only a fool couldn't see that if Russia was destroyed,China would face the West alone.A strong Russia in support is China's greatest aid.So in many ways the Russo-Chinese relationship is a marriage made in Heaven.And they can both thank the US for being the Matchmaker.The US trying to humble Russia,and threatening China,did the trick

The Guardian

Bismarx , 21 May 2014 5:38pm

Our dependence on their gas is their dependence on our money. Both sides are well advised to diversify. However, i would be careful if i had to decide for Russia: China and Russia have animosities and while the Europeans are a bunch of hysteric merchants, the Chinese will know how to get what they want once Russia is dependent on THEIR money.

followthemonkey -> Bismarx, 21 May 2014 8:59pm

the Chinese will know how to get what they want

I'd rather be a Chinese than an American.

"Americans more afraid of being tortured by their government than Chinese are of theirs"

Amnesty International conducted a global survey

MyDown -> tfernando, 21 May 2014 5:48pm

Putin said that gas price of the agreement is linked to petrol price, so it will not effect USD.

FrankPoster -> MyDown, 21 May 2014 7:44pm

FFS you know nothing. The price might have a formula that involved the USD somewhere, but the transactions will be in Rubles and Yuan, thereby fully bypassing the petrodollar. There are huge implication to the US for this, and therefore you will see them ramp up efforts in Ukraine and elsewhere to engage Russia in a proxy war with a view to eventually destabilize Russia in 5-10 years time to grab their oil and gas and process it in dollars to support their massively bankrupt financial system...but this time they will fails since china will side with the Russians and will drop their US treasury bills if necessary.

HongKongBlue

preemptive move to invade Ukraine?

Gudwin -> HongKongBlue

Nobody gives a rat's ass about Ukraine anymore.

whyohwhy1 Gudwin

Nobody gives a rat's ass about Ukraine anymore.

At the moment Ukrainian soldiers are killing civilians in the eastern part of that country, that is why the Western media seem to have lost all interest after 24/7 coverage for a couple of months.

AndyOC, 21 May 2014 5:39pm

You can't blame them for forging ever closer ties, uncertain as both countries must be with regards both recent Ukraine and industrial espionage problems.

Is it worth being worried about? Probably.

PaulThtanley AndyOC, 21 May 2014 7:49pm

No it isn't.

Russia and China don't trust each other at all, despite this grandstanding. Both countries look to the West and define themselves relative to it. Their oligarchs send their kids to school here and maintain holiday homes. Many retire (or flee) here. Let the Chinese bubble accumulate more investment debt and let the Russians have a go at extracting gas that is harder to reach than the gas they currently extract and sell it for less than they are currently selling their gas that has existing infrastructure. Who knows? It may even work out.

griffinalabama, 21 May 2014 5:39pm

Nice to see Russia outsmarting the nefarious yanks especially after all the bullshit the US has instigated in Ukraine. A good article in Counterpunch goes into the media coverup of the Odessa massacre and US involvement. The truth is coming out. Link here: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/08/false-flag-in-odessa/

ahbowledhim

Geo-political realignment is evident. A Sino-Russian alliance is huge and puts Washington on the back foot.

Can Washington play off the back foot like the incomparable Viv Richards could is the question?

IgAIgEIgG ahbowledhim, 21 May 2014 5:45pm

Geo-political realignment is evident. A Sino-Russian alliance is huge and puts Washington on the back foot.

Dude! What are the contingencies?!

Carl Jones IgAIgEIgG

Only one...world war 3. The fact is, Amerika and Britain are bankrupt. So they need some very big wars.

iamnotwise vr13vr, 21 May 2014 7:49pm

But this will become a new Cold War only if the US decides to stir trouble.

Continue to stir trouble, I think you mean. This whole Ukrainian situation is another US instigated clusterfuck. Once again the failing empire (with the UK clinging to it like a tumour) tries to drag everyone else down with it.

steavey, 21 May 2014 5:42pm

Russia maybe unpopular with the west, but their assets are always popular everywhere. It's nice to come home in winter time heated by gas central heating, and does not matter where the gas comes from, Alex Salmond's Scotland or Putin's Russia.

OneWorldGovernment, 21 May 2014 5:50pm

Love the 15 minute context. The negotiations for this deal was a decade in the making and the Chinese strong armed the Russians into taking a lower price. It shows how desperate the Russians have become and their weak bargaining power.

Carl Jones

I like that US dollar sign in front of the 400 billion?lol This deal is a massive nail in the coffin of the US dollar!!lol Funny, but true, Western sanctions are actually hastening the end of US dollar hegemony. You should watch a Dr Paul Craig Roberts youtube vid called "Fed launders treasury bonds in Belgium"...then you`ll know just how precarious the US economy is.lol

PaperEater Carl Jones

Lol. The level of discourse is amazing. Lol

Pazuzu Carl Jones, 21 May 2014 9:07pm

Nothing like a bunch of LOLs and references to to the Youtube School of Economics to lend that much needed dose of credibility to an argument. Well played!

Let me put things in perspective for you, if you'll allow me to interrupt your scholarly lulz for a moment: $400 billion is about the amount Uncle Sam uses to wipe his bum every day.

Still, I admire the resolve of the Putinbots, like obedient toy poodles still firmly clamping their little jaws on the heels of a giant, convinced they're winning the fight.

Mr1Cynical, 21 May 2014 5:56pm

This is only a terrible deal for the US and it's prostitute EU Milov i wouldn't take to seriously, as usual the Guardian always go for the lowest denomination when it comes to experts they mean someone who has an axe to grind.

This comes as CNN are calling Russia a pariah nation, they really mean o shi# this is great as the Bog roll called the petro dollar struggles along getting closer to the cliff O-Bama helping it along the way

What next Sanctions on everybody outside of Utah, still cheer up you Barry o supporters, you've still got your killer drones to play with

whyohwhy1

Russia didn't "fall out with the West": it was threatened with sanctions by the US and their puppets in Europe after they supported a coup against the elected government of Ukraine.

Maybe Kerry's hot air can provide enough energy for Poland and Germany next winter.

semyorka, 21 May 2014 5:59pm

The Kovykta field is considered to supply natural gas to China and Korea. According to these agreements signed by Rusia Petroleum with China National Petroleum Corporation and Kogas on 2 November 2000, the annual export of gas to China and Korea will be 20 billion cubic meters (bcm) and 10 bcm, respectively.[7] The Kovykta field will contribute also to the gasification of Irkutsk Oblast, implemented by the OAO East Siberia Gas Company, a joint venture of Gazprom (originally TNK-BP) and the Irkutsk Oblast Administration.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kovykta_field

You tell people Putin had stomach cramps and CiF would be crawling with people announcing this latest move had the west in knots by the master strategist.

TransAtlanticist, 21 May 2014 6:00pm

Iraq, Afghanistan .. now Russia. I will say the Chinese are remarkably good at knowing when to capitalize on others' bad situations.

vr13vr TransAtlanticist, 21 May 2014 6:30pm

It says the US is remarkably good at creating bad situations that only hurt the US.

AlexRussia, 21 May 2014 6:01pm

Putin: gas contract with China signed today has become the largest in the history of the USSR and Russia

Signed today contract to supply China natural gas from Russia is the biggest gas deal in the history of the USSR and Russia , said Russian President Vladimir Putin According to him, laying a gas pipeline " Power of Siberia " will come be the largest construction project in the world for the next 4 years. Meanwhile, Russia will invest in the construction of the pipeline and development Kovyktinsky and Chayandin deposits and about $ 55 billion while China is going to to create the necessary infrastructure for at least $ 20 billion. "This is the largest contract for Gazprom" - said SEO Gazprom Miller.

Ludwitt, 21 May 2014 6:04pm

The reporter writes

"Gazprom and CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation) have signed a 30-year, $400bn (£237bn) deal to deliver Russian gas to China"

a factual statement and adds an editorial comment

"a deal that underscores Russia's shift towards Asia amid strained relations with the west."

It's fine for the reporter and/or editor to have an opinion: it's just that the above statement does not follow at all from the previous statement about the signing of the deal. Indeed further down the article that this deal was 10 years in the making. Indeed it is prudent to diversify one's portfolio for a variety of reasons and especially have China, a voracious consumer and a key if not THE engine of global growth as one of your primary customers.

In fact the US and the West do roaring business with China itself. So why not Russia? And why not some analysis as to whether this deal would eventually be good or bad for the Russian economy and its growth? Or the development of the Russian Far East which has long been declared as a National Priority within Russia's domestic policy?

In a Western government centric world, any major deals that don't have the West in the picture are seen to be a threat, to be amplified as such by the Western corporate media.

An interesting gas story thread to chew on meanwhile is Hunter Biden - the US VP's son - being appointed to the board of Ukraine's largest gas company.

And so it goes.

FighTheBrainwashing

To be honest, right now I can't but feel quite a bit of shadenfreude picturing the "ecstatic" faces of the newsmakers from the Financial Times, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, etc., etc. that spent the last 24 hours leading to the announcement of this ground-breaking deal gloating over Putin's "failure to reach a landmark agreement with China".

As they say, he laughs best who laughs last, so, suckers, deal with it! It's our turn to laugh now!
:)

PS: And I'm absolutely positive it's only the beginning of good news for those who dare defy the criminally hypocritical, cynical, double faced, devious, mendacous and war-mongering United States of Lies, Propaganda and Double Standards around the world!

[May 20, 2014] Far Right Fever for a Europe Tied to Russia

NYTimes.com

LE CHESNAY, France - At a rally last week near the Palace of Versailles, France's largest far right party, the National Front, deployed all the familiar theatrics and populist themes of nationalist movements across Europe.

A standing-room-only crowd waved the national flag, joined in a boisterous singing of the national anthem and applauded as speakers denounced freeloading foreigners and, with particular venom, the European Union.

But the event, part of an energetic push for votes by France's surging far right ahead of elections this week for the European Parliament, also promoted an agenda distant from the customary concerns of conservative voters: why Europe needs to break its "submission" to the United States and look to Russia as a force for peace and a bulwark against moral decay.

While the European Union has joined Washington in denouncing Russia's annexation of Crimea and the chaos stirred by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Europe's right-wing populists have been gripped by a contrarian fever of enthusiasm for Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin.

"Russian influence in the affairs of the far right is a phenomenon seen all over Europe," said a study by Political Capital Institute, a Hungarian research group. It predicted that far right parties, "spearheaded by the French National Front," could form a pro-Russian bloc in the European Parliament or, at the very least, amplify previously marginal pro-Russian voices.

Pro-Russian sentiment remains largely confined to the fringes of European politics, though Mr. Putin also has more mainstream admirers and allies on both the right and the left, including Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, and Gerhard Schröder, the former German chancellor.

[May 20, 2014] The Senate's Bipartisan Ukraine Mistake

May 13, 2013 | The American Conservative

Last Tuesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held yet another hearing on Russia and Ukraine. The testimony of two of the witnesses before the committee, the State Department's Victoria Nuland and the Defense Department's Evelyn Farkas should be of genuine interest to anyone concerned about the course of action the U.S. is intent on taking in the region.

Ms. Nuland's testimony was notable for her prediction that Russian citizens will one day ask with regard to their country's incursion into Ukraine:

What have we really achieved? Instead of funding schools, hospitals, science, and prosperity at home in Russia, we have squandered our national wealth on adventurism, interventionism, and the ambitions of a leader who cares more about empire then his own citizens.

Well, whatever the Russian people think of Putin's adventurism-and if recent poll numbers are anything to go by, they think pretty well of it-it's the American people who are sorely tired of American adventures abroad.

Notable too were her comments on the May 2nd massacre in Odessa, which she described as "the death of more than 40 following an afternoon of violent clashes reportedly instigated by pro-Russian separatists…" This is too cute by half. The 46 people who were burned alive were pro-Russian demonstrators who barricaded themselves inside the second story of the trade union building in Odessa to escape the predations of a crowd of Right Sector militants.

Consider the following account of the massacre in the New York Times:

As the building burned, Ukrainian activists sang the Ukrainian national anthem, witnesses on both sides said. They also hurled a new taunt: "Colorado" for the Colorado potato beetle, striped red and black like the pro-Russian ribbons. Those outside chanted "burn Colorado, burn," witnesses said. Swastikalike symbols were spray painted on the building, along with graffiti reading "Galician SS," though it was unclear when it had appeared, or who had painted it.

To this our UN Ambassador Samantha Power tweeted: "Fact that #Ukraine has taken steps to try to restore order and take back territory from separatists is what any nation would do." This is interesting not so much for the moral obtuseness on display as for the hypocrisy. Recall that only two months ago, when former Ukrainian president Yanukovych attempted to "restore order" on the Maidan, he was told by Vice President Biden to pull back his security forces "immediately."

... ... ...

In the Q&A that followed, not one senator mentioned the massacre in Odessa. Sens. Boxer and Cardin did however express their sympathy for the missing Nigerian girls. All stressed the need for tougher sanctions on Russia and more "nonlethal tactical assistance" to the Ukrainian government. Some, like John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), complained the administration wasn't doing nearly enough.

Yet overall the hearing was a show of bipartisanship in the very worst sense; not one senator present dissented from the prevailing view that a) the Russians are the primary cause for the crisis in Ukraine and b) Ukraine represents a core U.S. national security interest. As the violence continues to spiral out of control ahead of the May 25th elections, the Congress and the administration find themselves, for once, in complete and serene agreement that the policy of material support for the regime in Kiev, and of ever-tighter encirclement of Russia, is indeed the right one. Let's hope they are right.

James Carden is a TAC contributing editor and served as an advisor to the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission at the State Department from 2011-2012.

[May 20, 2014] Who will benefit from the IMF's $17bn bailout of Ukraine? Not its people

"The IMF welcomes Ukraine into the Neo Liberal brotherhood".
The Guardian

The IMF's standard prescriptions constitute a supranational form of loan-sharking aimed at enriching western creditors

In return for the latest $17bn bailout of Ukraine the IMF insists on dramatic measures in five main areas of the economy: a sharp currency devaluation, which will increase the cost of all imported goods, a government-funded bailout for domestic banks, government spending cuts, measures to regulate money laundering and a sharp increase in energy prices.

... ... ...

The prescription in what the fund calls special adjustment programmes is always the same: privatisations, lower government payrolls, lower government social spending and lower wages. The latter are always a particular point of principle, disregarding the fact that the world cannot become more competitive against itself. Lower wages do not in any event lead to greater competitiveness, otherwise Ukraine would already be one of the most competitive countries in the whole Eurasian land mass. But lower wages do boost profits, which benefits the new private owners of formerly state-controlled sectors.

Beckow

IMF loans replace private loans that Ukraine was unable to pay. In effect Ukrainian taxpayers (and EU and US taxpayers) will end paying these loans. Without IMF, the loans would default, the oligarchs and Western investors would lose money, but Ukraine would be able to start anew.

Yatsenyuk says he will be "the most unpopular prime minister in the history of my country". That is quite an ambition in Ukraine, after Yanukovitch, Yushenko, etc....this guy thinks big. He was not not elected, he knows what he is doing is extremely unpopular. It will not help Ukraine. Why is he doing it?

The answer is in Nuland's tape: he was selected by US in order to do the dirty work. He will be rewarded.

GravyKing -> Beckow, 20 May 2014 6:44pm
We're all being fed a soup of lies over Ukraine. Western media is as bad as Russian media for creating facts out of thin air, even if they do so with greater handle on their craft.

Unreported Ukraine

It is pretty f'kin weird that massacres are being ignored and reframed as 'unclear what happened' simply because they suit the wests agenda, until you realise that perhaps there's something larger going on.

winstanley58

And so the IMF welcomes Ukraine into the Neo Liberal brotherhood.

Theodore McIntire rvaucbns

Agreed.

Here is another version from The International: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9F-p1S8PQY

"At first, art imitates life. Then life will imitate art. Then life will find its very existence from the arts." Fyodor Dostoevsky

Mujokan

Caught between two predators.

BeatonTheDonis, 20 May 2014 5:57pm

Operating within the "Washington consensus", IMF bailouts are a supranational form of loan-sharking. Their impact is familiar to hundreds of millions of people in developing countries, especially in Africa and in Latin America.

And even Romania of the 1980s. It was Ceausescu's IMF-inspired austerity drive in that decade - having borrowed heavily from Western banks during the 1970s - that eventually brought about his downfall, even though he managed to turn around a current account deficit of 5.3pc to a surplus of 6.5pc by 1988 and paid the debt off by 1989.

Ceausescu was a model sub-prime borrower and did everything the IMF asked of him (even though plenty of other countries had their own crises and managed to negotiate creditor haircuts) and his people ended up putting him (and his wife) against the wall.

It appears the new Ukrainian regime, and the EU, are determined not to learn anything from Ceausescu's fate.

Jeremn -> BeatonTheDonis

Indeed, and Ceausescu was invited to Buckingham Palace too. That's what you get when you deliver your country into the hands of the bankers.

snickid 20 May 2014 5:59pm

The IMF's standard prescriptions constitute a supranational form of loan-sharking aimed at enriching western creditors

Well, well, well. Who would have thought that?

Western banks (including those in Britain, Austria and the Netherlands) have also benefitted to the tune of 10s of billions of dollars from laundering the money stolen by Ukrainian oligarchs from their own people - the major reason why Ukraine is now broke:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/19/ukraine-narrative-moscow-versus-washington-oligarchs

So it's a win, win, win situation for the West (or, at least, for our bankers).

masaski
Great article.

This is standard MO.

The IMF/World Bank/USAID pick a country, target the sovereign government and create unrest. They then, whilst people are dying and the streets are burning, broker the cruelest of deals and the population at large are impotent against the imperialist bribery. End result is that the above institutions own the country and rolling governments will carry out their globalist ambitions to the letter - or the money supply will be cut and it's 'send in the mercenaries' once again. It's criminally insane, but what's more insane is that no-one seems to give a fuck...

I sure hope there is retribution in the next realm for those 7* perma-tanned technocratic vampires.
PlayaGiron
Finally the truth about what's really behind the "freedom" loving propaganda.

Its time the people realised that in a neo-liberal economy, corporate profits and bankster greed is all that matters to the sociopaths running all of our institutions (including the corporate controlled media).

structurequity
This article in a few words gets to the point of the entire rapier-rentier capitalistic model. A model ensuring that the disparity between Haves and Have Nots grows exponentially and the growing distance is paid for by the Have Nots.

DomesticExtremist -> klmno123

Cowardly Ukrainian 'politicians' will try and blame it on the Russians.

thea1mighty -> DomesticExtremist

"The IMF riot."

The IMF riot is painfully predictable. When a nation is, "down and out, [the IMF] takes advantage & squeezes the last pound of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up," as when the IMF eliminated food & fuel subsidies for the poor in Indonesia in 1998. Indonesia exploded into riots, but there are other examples - the Bolivian riots over water prices last year & this February, the riots in Ecuador over the rise in cooking gas prices imposed by the WB. You'd almost get the impression that the riot is written into the plan.

And it is. What Stiglitz did not know is that, while in the States, BBC and The Observer obtained several documents from inside the WB, stamped over with those pesky warnings, "confidential," "restricted," "not to be disclosed." Let's get back to one: the "Interim Country Assistance Strategy" for Ecuador, in it the Bank several times states - with cold accuracy - that they expected their plans to spark, "social unrest," to use their bureaucratic term for a nation in flames.

That's not surprising. The secret report notes that the plan to make the US dollar Ecuador's currency has pushed 51% of the population below the poverty line. The WB "Assistance" plan simply calls for facing down civil strife & suffering with, "political resolve" - & still higher prices.

The IMF riots (& by riots I mean peaceful demonstrations dispersed by bullets, tanks & teargas) cause new panicked flights of capital and government bankruptcies. This economic arson has it's bright side - for foreign corporations, who can then pick off remaining assets, such as the odd mining concession or port, at fire sale prices.

Zabka

The vultures are circling Ukraine.

thea1mighty Zabka

They have landed. The IMF deal is signed off, and now the State carcass feasting begins.

psygone

Several Hedge Funds will greatly benefit -- 2nd quarter earning statements need a little help.

1) New York-based Firebird Management, an equity hedge fund manager focused on Russia, Eastern Europe and frontier markets, which manages $12.1 billion in assets

2) Moscow-based Prosperity Capital Management (but headed by several Americans), one of the world's biggest Russia-focused hedge fund firms, which has $3.3 billion in assets under management.

3) ......and JP Morgan ('nuff said)

The IMF saves bond traders just like in those old westerns when the cavalry charges and saves the circled wagon train at the last possible minute.
----------

best regards,
-- Columbus, Ohio

ploughmanlunch

A very sobering article. Let's face it, the Ukrainians are screwed. The best that the Kiev regime can do is to blame Russia for the present, and forth-coming chaos. As I understand it, Yatsenyuk has a background in finance and banking.

No wonder Nuland said 'Yats is our guy!

DomesticExtremist

...and if the IMF shock doctrine doesn't work, they send in the jackals.

thea1mighty -> DomesticExtremist

The jackals are already there. Though they may remain quiet in the shadows, waiting see how things pan out, before silencing those who may be able to point the fingers in the right direction.

'Businessmen' do not make a $5bn investment in overthrowing a government, without expecting to earn huge dividends in return.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/melikkaylan/2014/04/16/why-cia-director-brennan-visited-kiev-in-ukraine-the-covert-war-has-begun/

thea1mighty 20 May 2014 6:25pm
Each nation's economy is individually analyzed, then, says Stiglitz, The World Bank (WB) hands every minister the same exact four-step program.

Step One is Privatization - which Stiglitz said could more accurately be called, 'Briberization.' Rather than object to the sell-offs of state industries, he said national leaders - using the WB's demands to silence local critics - happily flogged their electricity and water companies. "You could see their eyes widen" at the prospect of 10% commissions paid to Swiss bank accounts for simply shaving a few billion off the sale price of national assets.

And the US government knew it, charges Stiglitz, at least in the case of the biggest 'briberization' of all, the 1995 Russian sell-off. "The US Treasury view was this was great as we wanted Yeltsin re-elected. We don't care if it's a corrupt election. We want the money to go to Yeltzin" via kick-backs for his campaign.

Stiglitz is no conspiracy nutter ranting about Black Helicopters. The man was inside the game, a member of Bill Clinton's cabinet as Chairman of the President's council of economic advisors.

After briberization, Step Two of the IMF/World Bank one-size-fits-all rescue-your-economy plan is 'Capital Market Liberalization.' In theory, capital market deregulation allows investment capital to flow in and out. Unfortunately, as in Indonesia and Brazil, the money simply flowed out and out. Stiglitz calls this the "Hot Money" cycle. Cash comes in for speculation in real estate and currency, then flees at the first whiff of trouble. A nation's reserves can drain in days, hours. And when that happens, to seduce speculators into returning a nation's own capital funds, the IMF demands these nations raise interest rates to 30%, 50% and 80%.

"The result was predictable," said Stiglitz of the Hot Money tidal waves in Asia and Latin America. Higher interest rates demolished property values, savaged industrial production and drained national treasuries.

At this point, the IMF drags the gasping nation to Step Three: Market-Based Pricing, a fancy term for raising prices on food, water & cooking gas. This leads, predictably, to Step-Three-and-a-Half: what Stiglitz calls, "The IMF riot."

The IMF riot is painfully predictable. When a nation is, "down and out, [the IMF] takes advantage & squeezes the last pound of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up," as when the IMF eliminated food & fuel subsidies for the poor in Indonesia in 1998. Indonesia exploded into riots, but there are other examples - the Bolivian riots over water prices last year & this February, the riots in Ecuador over the rise in cooking gas prices imposed by the WB. You'd almost get the impression that the riot is written into the plan.

And it is. What Stiglitz did not know is that, while in the States, BBC and The Observer obtained several documents from inside the WB, stamped over with those pesky warnings, "confidential," "restricted," "not to be disclosed." Let's get back to one: the "Interim Country Assistance Strategy" for Ecuador, in it the Bank several times states - with cold accuracy - that they expected their plans to spark, "social unrest," to use their bureaucratic term for a nation in flames.

That's not surprising. The secret report notes that the plan to make the US dollar Ecuador's currency has pushed 51% of the population below the poverty line. The WB "Assistance" plan simply calls for facing down civil strife & suffering with, "political resolve" - & still higher prices.

The IMF riots (& by riots I mean peaceful demonstrations dispersed by bullets, tanks & teargas) cause new panicked flights of capital and government bankruptcies. This economic arson has it's bright side - for foreign corporations, who can then pick off remaining assets, such as the odd mining concession or port, at fire sale prices.

Stiglitz notes that the IMF and WB are not heartless adherents to market economics. At the same time the IMF stopped Indonesia 'subsidizing' food purchases, "when the banks need a bail-out, intervention (in the market) is welcome." The IMF scrounged up tens of billions of dollars to save Indonesia's financiers and, by extension, the US & European banks from which they had borrowed.

Now we arrive at Step Four of what the IMF and WB call their "poverty reduction strategy": Free Trade. This is free trade by the rules of the WTO and WB, Stiglitz the insider likens free trade WTO-style to the Opium Wars. "That too was about opening markets," he said. As in the 19th century, Europeans & Americans today are kicking down the barriers to sales in Asia, Latin American & Africa, while barricading our own markets against 3rd World agriculture.

Further Details and links to documents

prebender, 20 May 2014 6:28pm
There is no silver lining for poor Ukrainians then. When the IMF comes to town, misery soon follows. I have never come across one country where this institution has managed to make any difference in a positive way.
The previous Ukrainian govt had 6 years of negotiations with the IMF and said NO. Yet, this new crowd in Kiev have wasted no time bringing in the destructive IMF. One can only guess what is coming next?

Kamik11 -> prebender

I predict new Maidan in Ukraine soon.

Julian1972 -> Kamik11

Any new Maiden will be crushed with the complete approval and silence of Washington and the West.

Ukraine is now at the desired destination. The stolen car that the CIA used to drive it there would, should it try, find itself brought very quickly down to earth.

OneCommentator, 20 May 2014 6:32pm

The prescription in what the fund calls special adjustment programmes is always the same: privatisations, lower government payrolls, lower government social spending and lower wages. The latter are always a particular point of principle, disregarding the fact that the world cannot become more competitive against itself.

Sure they recommend those solutions because they are the only solutions that have worked for the rich countries themselves. Many countries have tried to go against that kind of advice and they failed miserably.

As to:

Lower wages do not in any event lead to greater competitiveness, otherwise Ukraine would already be one of the most competitive countries in the whole Eurasian land mass.

The author conveniently forgets that what matters in economics is productivity not necessarily lower wages. Sheltered by remnants of the communist failed system (high pensions, low and subsidised energy and food prices, guaranteed jobs, massive government intervention and ownership of economic entities, etc.) Ukraine is not competitive enough to provide higher wages. Fixing its problems is a very complex and painful process but there is no way around it.

snickid OneCommentator , 20 May 2014 6:41pm

Recommend : 17

hey are the only solutions that have worked for the rich countries themselves. Many countries have tried to go against that kind of advice and they failed miserably.

In a country as corrupt as Ukraine, further privatisation will simply lead to further massive enrichment of the oligarchs and massive impoverishment of ordinary Ukrainians.

Privatisation of natural monopolies - water, gas, electricity, railways - has failed everywhere.

Even in Britain, it only leads to pseudo-competition (with less than no benefits overall for consumers) - and was kick-started with the selling off of state assets at massively less than their real worth.

Across the third world, asset privatisation has been a disaster for the majority poor. In Ukraine it will be equally disastrous.

PaleMan -> OneCommentator, 20 May 2014 6:41pm

Recommend: 14

Sure they recommend those solutions because they are the only solutions that have worked for the rich countries themselves.

Best of luck finding contemporary evidence to justify that one.

https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2011/wp11158.pdf

This is a 2011 report by the IMF themselves, which concludes that;

In contrast, estimation results based on fiscal actions identified directly from contemporaneous policy documents provide little support for the expansionary austerity hypothesis.

I.e. - Austerity hasn't worked.

Strange that the IMF is still pushing it as a policy. A more cynical man than myself might think political that vested interests are involved here...

Spike501

As usual in the Guardian anti-IMF articles it does not tell the whole story - Ukraine is running a budget deficit of upwards of 5%, and when the loss making nationalized state energy company is taken into account it is estimated to be nearer 8%. It can no longer borrow money to finance everyday government spending.

So say Ukraine wants to turn down the IMF and default it perfectly well can, but the result is it will have to make immediate government spending cuts far in excess of medium term economic reforms that the IMF are requiring. Although default would probably provide the opportunity to avoid the domestic energy price increases as the state energy company would probably shut down so consumers wouldn't have to pay for any power because they wouldn't get any.

Will the IMG make peoples lives better? Probably not. It will however prevent them getting a lot worse.

ocixem2 -> Spike501

That is just nutty.

So instead of declaring bankrupcy and learning to live on what it produces, Ukraine should sign on the IMF's dotted line, pledging the family farm and signing national sovereignty away to boot?

dvoice

Is there any better alternative than the IMF's help or trap?

Still I think the Russia's offer of help in the time of Yanukovych was the best. First Ukraine need to be strong financially and politically than they can fight Russia or whoever they like. Now it is too late, they lost Crimea and S.E. is burning and Kiev has no any good leaders.

Confrontation with Russia is not a good policy for Ukraine from the beginning now the situation is getting worst day by day. The people will revolt against their government again if the situation is not getting improve. The West is the main culprit of this crisis.

StephenStafford -> dvoice

Confrontation with Russia is not a good policy for Ukraine

While agreeing with your point, it is not clear how much sway the Ukrainian population had in the change of power and policy, from a distance it looks as if the change was orchestrated from abroad and forced upon them. The Russian deal looked far better.

Curiously, the USA didn't or couldn't come up with the $18bn but directed the IMF into that position.

Larry144

The USAID brainwashing misinformation machine is what misled Ukrainians into protesting Yanukovych's very good deal with Russia back in February (very low gas price and a cheap $15 billion loan with no strings attached) and instead choosing chaos, bankruptcy, civil war, collapse of the state, and now IMF austerity.

I've got to give it to the Western propagandists: they are able to convince average people that white is black and black is white. The king of lies New York Times is ahead of the pack as usual.

Trilbey

Israel Shamir is an Israeli journalist reporting from Russia

The Ukraine in Turmoil

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/05/20/guest-column-israel-shamir-ukraine-turmoil/

Extract:

These people [Ukrainian oligarchs] had brought Ukraine to its present abject state. In 1991, the Ukraine was richer than Russia, today it is three times poorer because of these people's mismanagement and theft. Now they plan an old trick: to take loans in Ukraine's name, pocket the cash and leave the country indebted. They sell state assets to Western companies and ask for NATO to come in and protect the investment.

They play a hard game, brass knuckles and all. The Black Guard, a new SS-like armed force of the neo-nazi Right Sector, prowls the land. They arrest or kill dissidents, activists, journalists. Hundreds of American soldiers, belonging to the "private" company Academi (formerly Blackwater) are spread out in Novorossia, the pro-Russian provinces in the East and South-East. IMF–dictated reforms slashed pensions by half and doubled the housing rents. In the market, US Army rations took the place of local food.

Putin's respect for others' sovereignty is exasperating. I understand this sounds like a joke, - you hear so much about Putin as a "new Hitler". As a matter of fact, Putin had legal training before joining the Secret Service. He is a stickler for international law. His Russia has interfered with other states much less than France or England, let alone the US. I asked his senior adviser, Mr Alexei Pushkov, why Russia did not try to influence Ukrainian minds while Kiev buzzed with American and European officials. "We think it is wrong to interfere", he replied like a good Sunday schoolboy. It is rather likely Putin's advisors misjudged public sentiment.

" The majority of Novorossia's population does not like the new Kiev regime, but being politically passive and conservative, will submit to its rule", they estimated. "The rebels are a small bunch of firebrands without mass support, and they can't be relied upon", was their view. Accordingly, Putin advised the rebels to postpone the referendum indefinitely, a polite way of saying "drop it".

[May 20, 2014] Bottom feeders from Council of Europe

Double standards lead to utter cynicism.
Ukrainian Federalism of West now somehow so frightened...

Double standards lead to utter cynicism. The Council of Europe, which for 20 years has taught Russia federalism and constantly told Russian policymakers that this is a good thing, citing the example of Switzerland, Canada and Germany, now suddenly declares that for Ukraine federalism is not suitable.

How so? In Russia 81,6% of the Russian population, or, as in the West, they say, the title nation, and in Ukraine less than 77% - but they "need" a unitary state, and Russia. "We will not give you pilfer Ukraine!" - tell us, and Russia is ready to take away happy... Where is the truth? This is just cynicism.

[May 20, 2014] Putin orders Russian troop withdrawal from Ukrainian border

The Guardian

third_eye, 19 May 2014 11:40am

Recommend, 188

The grapevine says there's lots happening behind the scene with a pivotol roles played by Germany/EU and Russia/China. As expected, we've indeed come to a tipping point at which the aforementioned parties realise that further escalation and intransigence will not be in the interests of Europe nor Russia, nor indeed for the rest of the world.

The Americans are not happy with this development but they are for all intent and purposes powerless to stop this 'progress' because they're flat broke. The world can take heart that better sense, especially with Merkel, has prevailed, partly because domestic opinion in Europe (especially in Germany) is very much against escalating the conflict.

iseethroughyou third_eye, 19 May 2014 11:58am

Recommend : 215

behind the scene with a pivotol roles played by Germany/EU and Russia/China.

One of the aims of the Ukraine debacle, other than kicking the Russia Navy out of Sevastopol, was to sabotage the growing relationship between Russia and Germany as well as Germany/China. The Ukraine crisis was an attempt to reinforce Nato's postion, bolster the reasons for its existence and place a military wall between Europe and Russia.
Fortunately, German big business and German public opinion is against any attempts to recreate the cold war.

Russia was clever enough also to see through the US's trap in Ukraine and not send in any military forces to the East despite severe provocations (Odessa massacre).

This would have given the US the necessary propaganda stick to beat its Western "allies" into submission/back into place and sabotage growing ties between the two

third_eye iseethroughyou, 19 May 2014 12:10pm

Recommend: 37

For one of the best analysis of the Ukraine crisis I've come cross, go watch RT "Sophie & Co" today...it's an interview with an investment advisor Jack Worthington....he speaks with an American accent and is probably American.

ConfusedOfMayfair -> iseethroughyou, 19 May 2014 12:22pm

Recommend: 44

Interesting times ... with the EU elections coming up as well ...

But the fallout IN Ukraine itself - where large parts of Western & Central Ukraine have been radicalized - into a heady mixture of neo-nazi, extreme nationalism, and heavily violent & dripping with murderous hatred for all things Russian - has a way to go yet I think. Once critical mass has been achieved with this kind of thing, it doesn't just go away on its own.

I feel very sorry for the ordinary Ukrainian people - this was NOT what Maidan was about surely?

ConfusedOfMayfair -> third_eye, 19 May 2014 2:52pm

Recommend: 8

I read the transcript of that interview (on Sophie & Co)
The thing I don't get is that the russian speaking East & South of Ukraine - well this has been known about & well understood for a long time - I read about it in Brzezinski's Grand Chessboard book - from the 90's. So its hard to swallow that the US has "miscalculated" in that respect. If that is the case - ie that in fact they have NOT miscalculated - then what does that mean? That the US purposely engineered the disintegration of the Ukraine?????? Surely they must have worked through the possible scenarios? I've got a headache from trying to think this through ...

third_eye -> ConfusedOfMayfair , 19 May 2014 4:24pm

Recommend: 19

Confused...thanks for your response.

It is commonly held belief that the US government thinks and acts as one homogenous, rational entity . Far from it. I don't even believe that Obama calls all the shots because there are people behind the curtain who pull the strings.

It is likely that the US did not know the eastern Ukrainian political/ethnic terrain well enough. Here again, one musn't presume that the US knows everything about every country on earth. They don't. It's their PR/media machinery that comes across 24/7 on the tv screen and the daily newspapers that insidiously bainwashes people into a presumptive belief that they are omniscient. They are not.

Having said that, in order to understand US actions in Ukraine, local Ukrainian issues are only a distraction from their fundamental motive. No, the US is not purposely engineering the disintegration of Ukraine. It's trying to start a major war in Ukraine by drawing Russia and Europe/NATO into the conflict so as to sustain the US economy and at the same time prolong the survival of the Dollar. In other words, as long as there are armed conflicts around the world of sufficient magnitude and length, the US can ensure the survival of its absolutely massive military-industrial complex (i.e manufacturing, arms exports) and the continued 'printing' and propping up of the Dollar both of which it can't do if there is peace in the world. The US cannot afford peace because in peace the US economy does not generate enough revenue to sustain the country and more critically, service its Himalayan-sized debts. Also, in peace, the global move away from the Dollar ("de-dollarization") picks up speed and it's already happening...fewer people and countries want to hold or trade in Dollars. When the Dollar loses significant value, debt servicing becomes virtually impossible (because Dollar interest rates will rise) and the US economy collapses.

Hence, in order to understand the Ukraine crisis, it's not the local Ukrainian issues like Democracy (big BS), Russian expansionism (non-existant), eastern Ukraine and anything Washington can think off, that matters.

It's the big picture............ of the survival of the US as an economy and a country. To answer your question in another way, when someone's desperate he doesn't think anymore. He just does what he has to to survive, regardless of the cost to others.

FrenchScouse -> third_eye, 19 May 2014 8:56pm

I agree totally with your analysis, on which I would like to add a few more things. Since WWII, US strategy to maintain it's domination has been to destabilise any other nation that would pose any risk of threatening it either as direct competitor (China, USSR), or by offering an alternative to capitalism (Greece in the 50s, the whole of South and Central America, some African nations, and so on). The tools to achieve this were arms race (producing an insane number of nuclear weapons so USSR spent much of their scarce ressources into something noticeably not very useful for your development), covert actions (coup d'état) and wars by proxy (Forcing USSR to get involved in Afghanistan).

Of course, as you wrote, the US government is not homogenous and has opposing factions and powerful interest groups, which led to this strategy to go completely out of hand (Vietnam, Second intervention in Iraq) and led to the levels of astronomical debts that you pointed out. This thing is keeping it's own momentum and, eventually, US power will just crumble, sooner or later.

palanaj, 19 May 2014 11:53am

Recommend: 9

Phew! (If it actually happens of course)

davidpear -> palanaj, 19 May 2014 1:45pm

Recommend: 49

If it actually happens of course

There is probably a behind the scene deal with Obama & Co. just like with the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 between Khrushchev and Kennedy.

The US always has to save face in public. The Western media was able to gloat that "Russia Blinked".

It was years before the public learned that it was tit for tat. Kennedy had agreed to withdraw missiles from Turkey if Russia withdrew missiles from Cuba.

It is kind of surprising though if so. The US has a poor record on keeping promises.

bacchus99, 19 May 2014 12:02pm

Recommend: 114

Stop choosing the worse photo of him...the Guardian is so Cold War, what happened to this paper?

iseethroughyou -> bacchus99, 19 May 2014 12:07pm

Recommend: 164

Its part of the propaganda.

Like they always choose a photo of Farage that makes him look like a clown, so they choose a photo of Putin that makes him look evil. menacing.

Once you understand the propaganda, who the bad guy du jour is, its quite easy to see through.

PariahCarefree, 19 May 2014 12:02pm

Recommend: 94

I hope that sanctions against Russia will be lifted appropriately and promptly in reply. We do all need to work together to find solutions to our ongoing economics-driven environmental catastrophe.

bejide -> PariahCarefree, 19 May 2014 12:41pm

Recommend: 15

Working together with Russian will never be the same not matter what. Putin has shown where the West is vulnerable and there is not an urgent need to be less reliant on Russia, while remaining merely friendly with her.

1. Energy independence must be a core NATO objective.
2. No more using Russian rockets in ANY NATO country
3. Diminish cooperation on space
4. No trade agreement and roll-back whatever trade agreement that might be there.
5. Never allowed back to the G7
6. Never participate in a G20 of which Russia is a member.
etc etc.

Liberator37 19 May 2014 12:12pm

The move appears to indicate the Russian president's intention to defuse the crisis over Ukraine

Such defusing must bring intense disappointment to Mad-Dog Kerry.

NeoEarth -> Liberator37 19 May 2014 12:24pm
Recommend: 52

Kerry's part in catapulting the propaganda this time with outright lies in the face of the more objective reporting on the events as they happen has shown him to be little more than an out of touch and pathologically deluded rabid-attack-dog for western/US Imperialism/Expansionism.

John Kill-em all Kerry.

daledobak 19 May 2014 12:15pm
Recommend: 150

just more western propaganda. Its amazing how effective it is in its scope and magnintude. it has made Putin the central issue in all this and not US sedition or CIA backed fascists who overthrew a democratically elected Ukrainian government.

NeoEarth 19 May 2014 12:20pm
Recommend 116

Would the editors at the Guardian kindly stop catapulting the propaganda by referring to the pro-Independence separatists citizens as pro-russian. It's hardly helpful or illustrative of the people and their will for self-determination.

dvoice 19 May 2014 12:27pm

Vladimir Putin has ordered troops deployed near Ukraine to return to their home bases, the Kremlin has said.

Putin went one step further on Monday, ordering the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, to pull out forces involved in such training in the Rostov, Belgorod and Bryansk regions, according to a statement released by the Kremlin.

Vs

Putin orders troops back to bases after drills in regions bordering Ukraine

"As the planned spring stage of the drills, which included redeployment of the troops to training areas in Rostov, Belgorod and Bryansk regions, has come to an end, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to send troops back to their permanent bases and to go on with their military exercises at training areas nearby," the Kremlin's press service said.

RT

dvoice -> dvoice

19 May 2014 12:50pm

Pat Caddell, the former adviser to President Jimmy Carter, called the mainstream media an "enemy of the American people"

"The press's job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power," Caddell proclaimed.

Believe or not to believe is your choice

Kingston Elenwo, 19 May 2014 12:34pm

Recommend: 34

First we have mercenaries from greystone being funneled into the newly formed" national guard" and now there are sightings of UN attack helicopters near Eastern Ukraine... This is shaping up to be a blood bath not seen since serbia. I sincerely hope I'm wrong but I fear for the lives of the people of Donetsk as US shows malevolence in their support for fascist thugs, Russia needs to once again show they are the more mature and pragmatic side to this conflict or else.... there will be blood

DougalEvansCoe NeoEarth, 19 May 2014 3:24pm

Recommend: 6

Putin has probably decided that it is best to wait until next winter when a majority of Ukrainians, holed up in their unheated high-rises with no electricity even for the elevators, will decide to take to the streets in order to throw out the coup government along with its neo-nazi enforcers.

That uprising too wi 3997"> MartynInEurope 19 May 2014 12:43pm

Only last week there were suggestions in the media that Putin would not order troop withdrawals from Russian Federation army bases that were closest to the Ukraine border, and that he had basically lied about his intentions. At the time, those with the knowledge and experience of Russia, Putin and the politics of the region voiced the opinion that there would be no reason for Putin to contradict what he had stated would occur. But so keen are some people to see Putin placed in a bad light, and preferably at his own hand, that rational, coherent and sensible analysis was overshadowed by emotional, interested and vague allusions to ways that Putin and the Russian Federation might undermine Ukraine, the West and civilisation as we know it.

For an excellent insight on the Ukraine crisis I would heartily recommend a piece written by Tony Brenton (the British Ambassador to Russia from 2004-2008) titled "The unfolding Ukraine crisis signals a new world order" which was published in The Guardian's CIF section last Friday (16/5/2014).

Link: The unfolding Ukraine crisis signals a new world order

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/16/ukraine-crisis-signals-new-world-order-russia

senya -> MartynInEurope 19 May 2014 2:04pm
Recommend 6

i'd have a bit more respect for Tony Brenton's views if he stopped id'ing himself simply as the former British Ambassador and owned up to being a current paid director of the Russo-British Camber of Commerce http://www.http://rbcc.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=175&Itemid=291&lang=en

it's almost as if he is trying to hide a vested interest of something

MartynInEurope -> senya

19 May 2014 2:43pm

Recommend: 6

i'd have a bit more respect for Tony Brenton's views if he stopped id'ing himself simply as the former British Ambassador and owned up to being a current paid director of the Russo-British Camber of Commerce

Maybe I am missing something, but given the nature of these organisations I fail to see why there would be a conflict of interest, and surely IMHO what is most relevant is the fact that he was Ambassador to Russia during what were fairly turbulent times and he seems to have a very good understanding of the history of the region, the players and actors and events, what is going on and why, and what potentially may happen, or not, as the case may be.

MartynInEurope -> senya

19 May 2014 3:46pm

Hi,

i merely point out that he is not id'ing himself correctly - and wonder why

Maybe it wasn't considered to be relevant, like many other aspects of his career that were also excluded. After all, I would be far interested to hear the political opinions of en ex-Ambassador, than those of a board member of a bilateral chamber of commerce.

For the record, Tony Brenton hasn't exactly been uncritical of Russia. For example:

The EU should take a harder line on Russia's democratic deficit
European leaders should follow Germany's lead and collectively tackle Russia on its governance and human rights record

Link: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/nov/26/eu-pull-together-on-russia

savingUK 19 May 2014 12:47pm
It would be interesting to see how the US would behave if a large country bordering the US was close to civil war due to an overthrow of the elected government based on some shift in politics in the population centre. Would the US station troops anywhere near the border? We could perhaps look back at Cuba as an example of their possible reaction to this.

This is not, in any way an accurate analogy to the situation with Ukraine and Russia, where there is a long and close relationship between the people of these countries and many families have relatives on both sides of the border.

To make out that Russia should just sit back and watch while all other interested parties (who have no real historical or ethnic links to the country) try to influence what is happening in Ukraine is nonsensical.

Isolating Ukraine from Russia as the west seem to be attempting is not the right solution.

maxfisher -> savingUK, 19 May 2014 2:26pm

There are many, many examples and borders are optional: Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Nicaragua 1911-, Chile 1973, Cuba 1959- etc etc etc.

http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB4
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/19/politics/cia-iran-1953-coup/
http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/20010306/

I've no illusions about Russia, neither have I any about the US.

Babeouf 19 May 2014 12:53pm

The Wests invasion of Iraq was proceeded by imposing a no fly zone over Iraq. And I assume that a no fly zone over Eastern Ukraine would proceed any Russian invasion. The military changes involved in the relocation of one part of the Russian army within Russia appear minimal. As do any political gains for Putin..

The next move in the Ukrainian chess game is likely to take place in China with Putin's visit. If the thirty year gas deal is signed Guardian writers will split neatly into two camps.

If the deal is not signed it will be universally recognized as a blow to Putin and to his Ukraine campaign.

neomarxist, 19 May 2014 1:02pm

Recommend: 65

So in the end Russia found a better customer in the East. The gas deal with China is a massive blow for EU and its citizen. They should thank the US for the next winter's chaos. Now what? You all start fracking fucking your back garden? or collect methane from your cows?

mikserg, 19 May 2014 1:10pm

Recommend: 23

The hysteria of Ukrainian bloggers here is just another proof of how stupid Ukrainians are. Don't you get it that Kiev wants to give away a piece of your land to Putin for free?
If Putin doesn't take it for free, they are happy to pay him extra for that. Western+Eastern Ukraine=no loans and no investment in Ukraine.

griffinalabama, 19 May 2014 1:28pm

Recommend: 49

New evidence of the truth behind the Odessa massacre coming to light at the following thread....includes Right Sectors own video of the massacre with them pointing out that they themselves wore St.George's ribbons to infiltrate the building and also includes video footage of the elderly and female victims before they were massacred....proving the massacre was not the way the western media portrayed it to be. http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024970928 Also includes official linked evidence of the paid for coverup in the Kiev press.

illampu 19 May 2014 2:21pm

Recommend: 33

"Propaganda can be used for many different purposes, from selling cars to selling wars. Especially the latter has become the primary task of media in the United States and other NATO countries in recent years. With Iraq still burning, Western media played a decisive role in turning Libya and Syria into failed states as well. The propaganda was never particularly sophisticated. After "Saddam has weapons of mass destruction" came "Gaddafi is killing his own people" and eventually "Assad is like Hitler". But mainstream media reporting got even worse during the Ukraine crisis and this could have unforeseen consequences for those in power.

In Ukraine bloodthirsty neo-Nazis became peaceful protesters, pro-Russian protesters became FSB agents and black became white. Anti-Russian propaganda is all-pervasive and the Western media narrative about events in Ukraine is more often than not diametrically opposed to the facts on the ground.

NATO has been doing its best to provoke a new Cold War and the Obama administration, apparently believing its own spin, wants to pursue "an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment" towards Russia." Christoph Germann

http://www.gagrule.net/natos-new-cold-war-runs-trouble-germany/

Lunakhod 19 May 2014 2:21pm

When a German channel, the ZDF, mocks the Ukrainian Nazis, it can surprisingly be sometime really funny :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iej-kuaN1Mg
WearyofthisSht, 19 May 2014 2:22pm
Why is Russia officially pulling back now?

My guess is so Russia is not to be seen "messing" with the Presidential elections on 25th May. Russia will be blamed anyway, and punished with some kind of additional sanctions.

Anyway, once the new President Pososhenko is established (might be in the first vote or 3 weeks later) - he is so far ahead in the polls there is no doubt he will get in - then what does the future hold for Eastern Ukraine?

While traveling the country's south and east, 48-year-old Poroshenko says he will act decisively to contain the spread of Russian-backed separatism.

"What language do we have to speak with terrorists? That's right, the language of force. The state has to learn to speak the language of force," he told a rally in Kryvyi Rih on May 17.

Then, he will proceed to win over people's minds.

So, after he wins the election, Poroshenko promises violence which will make "Rambo" Tyrchinov look weak by comparison. I suspect that the Russian troops might be back soon after that.

Oh, and I'm sure he'll be just as successful as George W. Bush in winning over the "hearts & minds" of the people, after he's bombed the hell out of them.

Looks like trouble, not peace, is what lies ahead for Eastern Ukraine after the Presidential election.

DeMontreal 19 May 2014 2:37pm

For those who undestand french, the truth on ukrainian crisis, an interview from a famous ukrainian oligarch who has a major influence:

http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2014/05/19/dmitro-firtach-l-ukraine-doit-devenir-un-pont-entre-l-union-europeenne-et-la-russie_4421244_3214.html.

We're far away from MSM articles and politician statements.

zigagiz, 19 May 2014 3:12pm
Ukrainian servicemen deployed at roadblocks near the town of Krasnoarmeysk in the eastern Donetsk have been left by their commanders "to the mercy of fate".

"They don't supply us with food or water. We have some tinned food and cereals but we can't cook anything as we have no cooking staff. And we can't leave the roadblock, we have been ordered not to," soldiers complained, the ITAR-TASS news agency reports.

Local residents occasionally bring some food, a soldier said.

The servicemen were promised 2,700 hryvnias but have been paid only 600 hryvnias over a month and a half.

They gave their commanders an ultimatum, demanding that the rest be paid in three days or they would block traffic.

At the same time, they refuse to side with the self-defense volunteer forces.

"We don't know why we are here. It looks like we are guarding no one but ourselves. But we can guard ourselves at home. There is no need to do it here. No one is attacking us," a soldier said.

Earlier, a source in the self-defense units of the town, Kramatorsk, told ITAR-TASS that discontent was brewing among Ukrainian servicemen.

"They have food problems. They say they don't want war, don't want to shoot or kill anyone… But they refuse to surrender, to disobey commanders' orders,"the spokesman said.

Ukrainian servicemen in Donetsk region left to mercy of fate – reports

Caroline Louise, 19 May 2014 3:17pm
Has this been mentioned in the western media?

"....The Ukrainian Interior Ministry has acknowledged that it's impossible to hold presidential elections in some parts of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions.

"We clearly see and aren't deceiving anyone that it won't be possible to hold elections in a normal way on the huge territory of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions," Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said at a press-conference, as cited by RIA Novosti.....".

Avakov said the election will be held anyway, even if it appears to be disrupted in some places........"

How can any such election be representative? What problems is it going to solve?

zigagiz Caroline Louise 19 May 2014 3:39pm
There's also this related to Avakov:

Ukraine Reporter ‏@StateOfUkraine 25m

#Avakov: in #Slavyansk and #Kramatorsk salaries & pensions payments to population from state budget will be halted due to low security level

ID3377086, 19 May 2014 3:21pm
I doubt it is a good idea. The Ukrainian fascist government ran mad to use artillery, tanks against its native people. There is no future for the south-east in Ukraine after killing civilians.

kabscorner -> ID3377086 19 May 2014 3:26pm

Well the US and her allies should know this very well after all the killing that they have done in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and so many other places around the world.

ocixem2 -> ID3377086 19 May 2014 3:34pm

> If Russia refuses to join the fray, I suspect what might unfold is the typical guerilla war, in which case US/NATO will have taken a tiger by the tail. Maybe this was what Putin had in mind all along? He seems to be the only one to look beyond the next move, to plan his moves two or three into the future and to alter his moves as facts change.

The strategy and tactics of guerrilla warfare tend to involve the use of a small, mobile force against a large, unwieldy one. The guerrilla force is largely or entirely organised in small units that are dependent on the support of the local population. Tactically, the guerrilla army makes small, repetitive attacks far from the opponent's center of gravity with a view to keeping its own casualties to a minimum and imposing a constant debilitating strain on the enemy. This may provoke the enemy into a brutal, excessively destructive response which will both anger their own supporters and increase support for the guerrillas, ultimately compelling the enemy to withdraw.

Strategy and tactics of guerrilla warfare

Trader SeerStrategy -> kabscorner, 19 May 2014 3:33pm
It will all stop after the MAJORITY of UKRAINIANS will show to the World where their VOTE and WILL IS.
Less then a week left.
There will be legitimate elected president, legitimate elected local and federal governments.
Clearly illegitimate pro-putins separatists terrorists, that will be either puled back to Russia or destroyed...
And when Ukraine will finish terrorists it will join NATO, and no more Putin's aggression on Ukraine. He is dictator indeed, but not stupid....

Vaska Tumir -> Trader SeerStrategy 19 May 2014 8:01pm

There will be legitimate elected president, legitimate elected local and federal governments.

Don't overdo the lies because they then become far too obvious.

There will be NO general election on May 25, NO new government.
The only thing that will change is the puppet that goes under the title of President.

zigagiz, 19 May 2014 3:28pm
Here's some nazi Right Sector news from the last couple of days that (I naively wonder why) somehow didn't make it into the Guardian's reporting:

Ukrainian police stopped a group of armed men from entering Europe's largest nuclear power plant, located in southeastern Ukraine. In video footage allegedly showing the attempted break-in, the men say they are members of the Right Sector group.

The gunmen were stopped Thursday at the entrance of the city of Energodar, near Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant, the facility's press service said in a Friday statement on its website.

The power plant's authorities said the incident did not affect the station's operations. However, security at the plant and throughout Energodar has been heightened.

Several cars full of men who introduced themselves as members of the notorious neo-Nazi group Right Sector were stopped at a checkpoint near Energodar, Ukraine's Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported. The men were wearing masks, had guns, and said that they were headed to "protect the nuclear power plant and the city from possible seizures," according to the paper.

Gunmen attempt to enter Ukraine's largest nuclear power plant

Television debates with three nationalist presidential candidates ended up in calls to pursue a guerilla war against pro-federalist Ukrainian citizens and conduct targeted assassinations of their leaders.

The leader of the radical Right Sector movement, Dmitry Yarosh, and his no less nationalist opponents, former chief of foreign intelligence service, Nikolay Malomuzh, and chairman of People's Rukh nationalist party, Vasily Skubiyda, presented their vision of Ukraine on Saturday after the presidential election set for May 25.

The ultranationalist leader categorically denied that the autonomous republic of Crimea had the right to disengage with Ukraine through a popular referendum and reunite with Russia. Crimea "has always been, and remains" a Ukrainian territory, stated Yarosh and called to start a guerilla war in the peninsula get the region back.

The Right Sector leader also shared new tactics to be used against federalists in the East, saying that there should be no more attempts to storm the rebel cities, but rather "knock out" the activist leaders. It means that they should be physically eliminated, he specified.

Ukrainian ultranationalist leader calls for guerilla war against pro-federalists

Kamik11, 19 May 2014 3:41pm
I see the only thing Western governments want is to see Russia as an enemy. Any attempts to de-escalate tensions on the Russian side are interpreted as a trick.

"Don't believe them, it's not what they want".

The reason is fear. Fear to lose control over the world.

It just so happened that western values and western economy became predominant in the world. And those who are in real power in the West don't want it to lose.

As Yoda said in Star Wars: "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering".

A Soviet intelligence agent Leonid Shebarshin once said: "The only thing West wants from Russia is not to exist".

ocixem2 -> Metronome151
Crimea was a gift from the the US's feckless neocon bumblers, Vicrtoria Nuland and team.

Move along. That is now history, water under the bridge.

Beelza, 19 May 2014 3:47pm
An inspiring tribute to Odessa.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/05/odessa-the-ukrainian-city-that-refuses-to-implode/371121/

[May 19, 2014] 'No to the Nazi coup d'etat in Ukraine!' Rome protesters rally against fascism

RT News

A few hundred protesters gathered outside the Ukrainian embassy in Rome on Saturday to protest against the rise of fascism in Ukraine and Europe. The event was organized by well-known journalist Julietto Kieza.

Kieza told Ruptly that he maintains that the "so-called revolution in Euromaidan has been paid straightly by the United States" and that for the first time since World War II, "Nazism reappears in the center of Europe with the aid of the United States."

Demonstrators came out to express a similar view. Protesters held up signs depicting Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko as Hitler, and telling NATO to "go away."

One of the banners said: "No to the Nazi coup d'etat in Ukraine" in Italian.

Massive protests that began last year in Kiev eventually led to the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich in February. Yanukovich left Ukraine's capital amid the worst surge of violence in the country's post-Soviet history, which left dozens of people dead and hundreds injured. The pro-Maidan opposition immediately capitalized on his absence from the city, dominating the parliament which then voted to strip the president of his powers and announced early elections.

Following the events, far-right forces such as the Svoboda (Freedom) party – Ukraine's nationalist party – entered the political arena and are now part of Ukraine's parliament.

"Only now I perceive that Europe is beginning to understand the danger they also face, because there is no solution for the crisis in Ukraine in the direction the United States has created. Now Europe has to pay," Kieza said.

[May 19, 2014] It would be better to split Ukraine than to tear it apart By Eugene Rumer

May 8, 2014 | FT.com

Dividing the country is no one's first choice, but it is better than a descent into messy civil war, writes Eugene Rumer

President Vladimir Putin's announcement on Wednesday of a pullback from the Ukrainian border has been greeted with a mixture of relief and scepticism in Europe and the US. In any case, it should not obscure the fact that while diplomacy is being reactivated, it has yet to produce any results. After the chaos in Odessa took dozens of lives, and amid continued fighting in eastern Ukraine, the country stands on the brink of civil war. There is no end in sight. It is time to confront an unpalatable truth: Ukraine may not emerge from the crisis as a unitary state.

So far, US policy has entailed shaming Russia and threatening sanctions. But the Kremlin fears neither reputational risk nor the economic pain that western sanctions can inflict. Furthermore, our hands are tied. The global economy needs Russian oil and gas to run.

Russia's proximity to Ukraine gives it an important operational edge. It has a lot more at stake there than the US or Europe. And unlike western powers, Russia is prepared to use force.

The April 17 Geneva accords have done little to improve things. Yet, so far, no better ideas have emerged. US President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany have warned Russia that more sanctions will follow unless it ceases its destabilising activities in eastern Ukraine and refrains from disrupting the May 25 presidential elections. But these threats have had no impact on the violence there. In the long run, sanctions may bear fruit and the Kremlin may come to regret its actions but in the meantime Russia and the west are pursuing a course that could lead to a true catastrophe in Ukraine.

Could Ukraine be saved by a radical rethinking of relations between Kiev and the regions – perhaps even a national referendum or, in the extreme case, partitioning of the country? The latter would clearly be a radical step. It would be messy. But would it be worse than a civil war?

Such moves would not have to be accomplished overnight. A gradual process could begin with a referendum at the same time as presidential elections with international supervision. The subsequent reforms would be implemented by a body of representatives from all parts of Ukraine, in parallel with an effort at national reconciliation. This path need not necessarily end in divorce; separatists in the east may be mollified by some lesser-form of regional self-government, such as a federal government with a large degree of local autonomy.

A new parliamentary election could help to stabilise the situation. At present, no one is in charge in eastern Ukraine. The authorities in Kiev have admitted as much. Much of the separatists' fervour is driven by the perception that the national government does not represent them, does not care for them and is dominated by nationalists from western Ukraine – in many ways culturally and religiously different from the east – who rose to prominence during the protests in the Maidan.

Giving the east a large bloc of votes in the national parliament would ensure that the region's interests would be adequately represented in Kiev. Much attention has been focused on the May 25 presidential election. But electing a new parliament is an equally important step.

Nobody wants a civil war in Ukraine. Russia appears reluctant to send in its tanks, probably fearing the chaos that would be certain to follow. Neither Europe nor the US wants another Balkan-style conflict. The people of Ukraine have suffered enough.

It is time to stop digging and begin to look for a solution at any cost. Partitioning Ukraine may not be anyone's first choice but all options – postponing the May 25 election, a constitutional referendum, a new parliamentary election – should be on the table if they have a chance of averting a civil war and saving lives.

The writer is a senior associate and director of the Russia and Eurasia programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

[May 19, 2014] Russia Offers Negotiations on Ukraine Gas Price in Return For $2.2Bln Debt Payment Business

May 16, 2014 | The Moscow Times

Russia is ready to discuss a gas price discount for Ukraine if Kiev pays off the $2.2 billion it owed as of April 1, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Friday, as both sides seemed to edge toward a potential compromise.

... .... ....

Ukraine's deputy energy minister, Ihor Didenko, said Thursday Gazprom's price of $485 per 1,000 cubic meters was monopolistic and unfair and that Kiev was working on proposals to avoid the gas taps being switched off.

He said that if the price were to be fixed at $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters Kiev would be prepared to pay around $4 billion before the end of May.

Russia has warned that it will not supply Ukraine with gas in June unless Kiev pays in advance by June 2, raising fears that deliveries to Europe could be affected.

... ... ...

Gazprom is demanding a $1.66 billion pre-payment for June deliveries, saying the neighboring country had only half its requirements in storage to ensure a trouble-free winter.

[May 19, 2014] We are all East Ukrainians now New Eastern Outlook by Jim Dean

May 15, 2014 | http://journal-neo.org/2014/05/15/we-are-all-east-ukrainians-now/

"In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution." –Alexander Hamilton, 1788

Well, it is over. The people of East Ukraine have spoken and they have chosen freedom…freedom from being ruled over by a foreign-backed Western coup for its own selfish goals. The honor of carrying the symbolic torch of universal freedom now passes from America's hands to these East Ukrainians, a tragic dishonor for the disenfranchised America people who had nothing to do with this.

We have sat by and watched all this like a slow-motion train wreck in a Twilight Zone TV show rerun, where we know what is about to happen but there is nothing we can do to prevent it. Here is why Kiev and its backers did everything they could to smear, threatened and terrorize the East into submission. With voter turnout in the 75% to 80% range, the polls in favor of independence ranged from 90% to 96%.

Any pretense to Western democratic values is a dead man walking. We have watched Western leaders literally bury themselves in vain, and the most shame goes to the Nobel Peace Prize winner, the first to get it for doing nothing, and hopefully the last. The EU, still in shock and denial, claims they don't recognize these referenda, bringing even more shame on themselves.

All they seem to be thinking now is how to extricate themselves out of the mess they created. Their Ukraine gambit could backfire on them much worse than they ever expected. If Europeans were smart, they would see their leadership for what it really is… a European-version Kiev that cluelessly demonizes their Russian trading partner with whom they have a $110 surplus, at a time where every job and export-Euro is not a luxury but critically necessary. How stupid is that?

Europe needs a major house-cleaning, just like Kiev does. With the EU Parliament elections coming up May 22-25th, it is perfect timing to dump as much of the old order as possible, and start rolling back the threat that the European Union has become to the people of its member states, with distant rulers who have as much concern for their people as Kiev does for Donestk, Luhansk and Crimea.

We have watched the controlled western media back the Western move to replace the phony Iran nuclear weapons hoax with the new "Russians are preparing to invade us." If it weren't so sad, it would be funny. The 150,000 dead in Syria are not funny at all, and neither has the UN or ICC done anything to sanction the many players involved in State-sponsored terrorism. I can name the US, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

... ... ...

Jim W. Dean, managing editor for Veteran Today, producer/host of Heritage TV Atlanta, specially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".

[May 19, 2014] Michael Hudson The New Cold War's Ukraine Gambit

May 16, 2014 | naked capitalism

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "The Bubble and Beyond." This article is from a new book, Flashpoint in Ukraine, edited by Stephen Lendman. It is currently available from Clarity Press as an e-book, and soon to be printed.

Finance in today's world has become war by non-military means. Its object is the same as that of military conquest: appropriation of land and basic infrastructure, and the rents that can be extracted as tribute. In today's world this is taken mainly in the form of debt service and privatization. That is how neoliberalism works, subduing economies by indebting their governments and using unpayably high debts as a lever to pry away the public domain at distress prices. It is what today's New Cold War is all about. Backed by the IMF and European Central Bank (ECB) as knee-breakers in what has become in effect a financial extension of NATO, the aim is for U.S. and allied investors to appropriate the plums that kleptocrats have taken from the public domain of Russia, Ukraine and other post-Soviet economies in these countries, as well as whatever assets remain.

In a recent interview in The New York Review of Books, George Soros outlines what he thinks should be done for the Ukraine. It should "encourage its companies to improve their management by finding European partners."[2]

This means that kleptocrats should sell major ownership shares in their companies to Westerners. This would give the West a stake in protecting them, pressuring their government to tax labor rather than the wealthy, and helping them cash out and keep their takings in London and New York to finance Western economies, not that of Ukraine.

The West's Ideological Conquest of the Post-Soviet Economies

That is not how replacing Soviet communism with a free market was supposed to work out – at least, not for the Soviet side. Mikhail Gorbachev and his supporters hoped that ending the Cold War would enable Russia to dismantle the arms race whose costly military overhead prevented the Soviet Union from devoting resources to produce consumer goods and adequate housing. In addition to the peace dividend, the aim was to establish a price feedback system that would raise industrial productivity and living standards.

The West's ideological victory – or more to the point, the neoliberal anti-labor, anti-government and pro-Wall Street game plan – was sealed at the Houston summit in July 1990. Russian Prime Minister Gorbachev and other Soviet leaders endorsed the World Bank/USAID plan for shock therapy, privatization, deindustrialization and a wipeout of domestic personal savings (characterized as an "overhang") to start by impoverishing the population at large and vesting an overclass with the most unequal distribution of wealth in the Northern Hemisphere.

U.S. Cold War advisors urged Russia and other post-Soviet states to give hitherto public assets and property to individuals, preferably to plant managers and political insiders. The cover story was that it did not really matter who got them, because private ownership in itself would lead the new owners to re-organize production along the most profitable lines. Pinochet's Chile was held out as a shining success story, and a right-wing Pinochetista movement started in Russia.

The Communist Party nomenklatura, Komsomol leaders such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Red Directors were excited by these neoliberal promises to turn over natural resources, real estate, infrastructure and factories to themselves. The sanctimonious pretense was that property has its own logic of self-interest, which serves the social good because wealth will trickle down to uplift the population at large. In practice the neoliberal "free market" turned out to be a euphemism for looting. Subsidized by U.S. support and imposed by Yeltsin's presidential fiat (unconstitutionally, over the objections of the Duma), ownership of hitherto public investment and natural resources were given to managers who made their fortunes by selling their takings to Western investors.

Already before 1990 billions of dollars in roubles already were being siphoned off via Latvia (Grigory Loutchansky and Nordex played a major role), while co-op leaders KGB and army leaders already were creating proto-predatory financial structures. U.S. bankers, officials and academics went to Russia and other former Soviet republics to explain that the most practical path was to create joint-stock companies and sell shares to Western buyers to bid up the price. Western banks helped kleptocrats keep the proceeds from these sales abroad so that they didn't have to reinvest it at home (or pay taxes). The tax burden was placed on labor and consumers, not on the windfall gains and natural resource rents, land rent or monopoly rent being siphoned off.

Instead of bringing about Western European or American-style industrial capitalism with their heavily subsidized technology and protected agriculture, the effect has been to de-industrialize Russia and other post-Soviet economies, except for East Germany and Poland. In effect, the former Soviet Union was colonized in the world's largest resource grab since Europe's conquest of the New World five centuries ago.

As in the other former Soviet republics, Ukraine embraced the neoliberal plan to make kleptocracy the final stage of Stalinism. As Mikhail Khodorkovsky described: "Decent people get out of the system, leaving 'idiots and lowlife' – great material for building up the machinery of state. And yet that is indeed our state."[3]

Along these lines one Russian journalist excoriates Ukraine's sequence of oligarch-politicians as gangsters:

Kuchma gave orders to kill the journalist Gongadze. Yanukovich, still the country's only legally elected president, did a couple of stretches in the clink even in Soviet times – for snatching fur-hats in public toilets.

Former Ukraine Premier Lazarenko is now doing time in the U.S.A. for money laundering, fraud, and extortion. His business colleague Yulia Timoshenko, whose complicity in those crimes was proved beyond all reasonable doubt by U.S. investigators, fearing the same fate, sought immunity by moving into politics.

Timoshenko is the person whom ordinary people of Ukraine have called vorovka, feminine for thief, to her face. Indeed, the source of the billions this "engineer-economist" (her position in Soviet times) amassed in the '90s is perfectly obvious: pocketing the money for gas that came from Russia to Ukraine and Europe. Getting payment for the gas [sold by] Timoshenko's corporation was always a wrangle, and at times impossible. She salted away her booty in European banks, often carrying bags of cash across the border, for which she was repeatedly arrested but wriggled out of jail sentences by suborning judges and such. Again, all this is on record. [4]/a>

These leaders have left Ukraine looking like a Northern Hemisphere Nigeria. Real wages plunged by more than 75 percent from their 1991 level wages already by 1998 and have stagnated ever since.[5]
This "cheap labor" makes Ukraine appealing to European investors, who now are making their own move to obtain what Ukraine's oligarchs have grabitized. The West has made it clear that it will help these individuals convert their takings into cash and move it safely into Western banks, luxury properties and other nouveau riches assets.

The Coup Seeks to break up Ukraine, Libya- or Iraq-style

From a military vantage point, the New Cold War aims to prevent revenue from these privatized assets from being used to rebuild, re-industrialize, and hence potentially to re-militarize the Russian and Near Abroad economies. This is why U.S. strategists have moved to pry Ukraine out of the Russian orbit. The dream is to achieve the Cold War's coup de grace along the lines outlined by Zbigniew Brzezinski in his 1997 Grand Chessboard: "Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire." The aim is to break as much of Ukraine as possible out of the Russian orbit and to draw it into the West, and into NATO itself.

This has been the plan ever since President Clinton broke the disarmament agreement made by George H.W. Bush with Gorbachev and extend NATO to the former Warsaw Pact members, starting with the Baltics. The logical extension of this tactic is to promote separatist movements in Russia itself, much as U.S. strategists are seeking to stir the pot of ethnic resentment in China, and as they have done in Libya, Iraq and Syria.

They found their most recent opening when Ukrainians mounted a mass demonstration against the rampant political and economic corruption built in from the outset of independence. The hoped-for aid from Europe turned out to be only to subsidize the kleptocracy, not to promote meaningful democracy. President Yanukovich reacted to Eurozone demands for yet more austerity by choosing Russia's far better offer. Meanwhile, "Occupy Maidan" was filling up with middle-age demonstrators, women, students, Russian-speakers, nationalists and others whose common aim was to end the thieving. They wanted reforms, and were protesting against the oligarchs, not only Yanukovich but also Timoshenko and the others.

But the Obama Administration seems to be channeling Dick Cheney these days. Its Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs was the neocon Victoria Nuland, who wanted Arseniy Yatsenyuk to be in charge, an economist willing to turn the Ukrainian economy away from the Russian orbit toward the Eurozone. To accelerate matters instead of waiting for the scheduled autumn elections, a preemptive coup. U.S.-backed separatists mounted a coup, bringing in right-wing neo-Nazi groups and foreign snipers to escalate a violent confrontation on February 20.

Public relations spinning made it difficult to understand who was behind the snipers firing on demonstrators and police. An public campaign by the coup leaders and U.S. spokesmen accused Yanukovich's police of doing the firing. But a TV investigative team sent from Germany's ARD confirmed what had been trickling into the news contradicting the American version of events. The April 10 report found that contrary to the claims of the coup leaders in Kiev, the demonstrators were hit from behind by snipers shooting from the roof of "their own headquarters, the Hotel Ukraina."[6]

One doctor found that all the bullets taken from bodies he examined were identical, suggesting a single group of snipers. The German team quoted family members about how the coup's new Attorney General, Oleg Machnitzki, has stonewalled them with regard to the details of the death or injury of their relatives. He is a member of the right-wing Swoboda party, appointed to investigate snipers who seem to have come from his own group.

The ARD program quotes a senior member of the new government's Investigative Committee saying that "The results of my investigations which I have found, simply do not match up with what the prosecutor says" in blaming Yanukovich. The program concluded: "the fact that a representative of the nationalist Svoboda Party as Attorney General quite obviously hindered the elucidation of the Kiev massacre, creates a bad image of the new transitional government – and thus also of all those western governments that support the new rulers in Kiev."
In a travesty of reality, White House spokesmen portrayed the U.S.-orchestrated violence as representing a spontaneous nationalistic anti-Russian spirit of the Maidan demonstrators, as if they were supporting pro-EU and hence anti-Russian passions. But what evidently happened is that the coup leaders sought to jump in front of the anti-corruption parade by creating chaos and then restore "order" by removing politicians from the Eastern Russian-speaking region.

Yanukovich reached an agreement with the protest leaders to step down and appoint an interim government, but his palatial home was sacked and he fled for safety to Russia. The coup leaders (calling themselves the "transitional government") fanned regional tensions by banning the use of Russian on television and other public places, and even began to cut off water to Crimea, while replacing local Eastern Ukraine officials with "Right Sector" apparatchiks in an attempt to force the region's oligarchs and factory owners to turn away from their main markets in Russia and re-orient the economy toward Europe.

Matters have not worked out as planned. The U.S.-backed destabilization moves were so blatant that they prompted former President Jimmy 'to warn that: "The rest of the world, almost unanimously, looks at America as the No. 1 warmonger. That we revert to armed conflict almost at the drop of a hat – and quite often it's not only desired by the leaders of our country, but it's also supported by the people of America."[7]

Commenting on the anarchy into which the U.S.-backed coup has plunged Ukraine, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong summed up what so often has been the result of foreign uprisings backed by U.S. promises.

"I think you should have thought of that before encouraging the demonstrators on the Maidan. I think some people didn't think through all the consequences. … can you take responsibility for the consequences and when it comes to grief, will you be there? You can't be there, you've got so many other interests to protect."[8]

Having encouraged the Ukrainian coup by holding out a quixotic dream of joining the EU and even NATO, the United States really has no means to follow through. It is in many ways a reply of the Hungarian 1956 uprising and that of the Czechs in 1968.

The effect is to make the United States look like what Mao Tse Tung called it: a Paper Tiger. Having waved a big stick, the United States and its NATO satellites are now leaving Ukraine broke. The aim of prying it out of the Russian orbit has left the country heavily in debt to Russia for arrears in payments for gas (now no longer subsidized) and in danger of losing Russia as its major market for industrial exports. To cap matters, Western separatists are talking of blowing up the pipelines carrying Russian gas to Germany and other European consumers, to reduce Russia's trade balance and thus presumably deter its ability to spend on the military.

To support President Obama's assurances that the US-backed side was not conducting the terrorism, the U.S. news media have blacked out the German investigation and similar testimony. Obama's claims and those of Samantha Power at the United Nations may go down in history as his analogue to George W. Bush's fictitious "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq.

As Warren Buffett has quipped, finance and debt pyramiding are weapons of mass destruction. They go hand in hand with mass deception. Opposition to the U.S.-backed coup and its attempt to impose Eurozone austerity on Ukraine is not necessarily pro-Russian, but simply opposed to plans to tear the country away from its major export market and fuel. Of all the post-Soviet states, Ukraine's economy is most closely interlocked with that of Russia, even with its military production. Disrupting these linkages can only be mass unemployment and austerity. The aim of a Ukrainian anti-Russian turn thus is not to help Ukraine, but to use that unfortunate country as a pawn in the New Cold War.

America's Ukraine Adventure as a New Cold War Gambit

Why would an American president take so great a risk with his reputation, if not to make a major geopolitical move for a showdown with Russia? The $5 billion of U.S. support (to which Victoria alluded in her notorious phone remarks explaining U.S. support for the coup) has been spent to fuel a movement dreaming of joining the EU. But the drive to turn Russia's naval base at Sevastopol and into a NATO Black Sea port was stymied by the coup leaders' over-reaching drive to ban the Russian language in public venues. A majority of Crimeans sought protection by being absorbed into Russia, which Putin hardly could have refused.

Failing to pry away the entire Ukraine, Plan B is to break it into parts, much as U.S. strategists are fomenting Uighur and Tibetan separatism in China. Dismemberment usually is achieved most easily in today's world under the force majeur of IMF "stabilization" such as tore Yugoslavia apart (an early venture of Jeffrey Sachs). The aim is to break away as much of Ukraine as possible from the Russian orbit, and to do so in ways designed to hurt Russia the most. This entails refusal to pay for gas arrears, and stopping Ukrainian military exports to Russia. IMF and EU-sponsored austerity would lead to deeper dependency on Western Europe for credit that a bankrupt Ukraine, driven into even deeper unemployment, could not pay. The IMF-EU then would insist that its government must pay Western creditors by proceeds from privatization sell-offs. The problem with this is that most Ukrainian debt is owed to Russia – not only for gas but also for other Russian claims including a reimbursement of Russian prepayment for its Crimean naval base.

The Ukrainian coup also aims to impose on Russia the kind of military burden that originally led its leaders to undertake their rapprochement with the West. The idea is to drain its budget militarily by heating up the New Cold War along its borders, leaving less to invest in real economic growth. And if sabre rattling over the Ukraine can taunt Russia into over-reacting, this will revive fears of the Russian bear in the Baltics and other neighboring states, fanning their ethnic anti-Russian tensions. This will help keep their elections from being fought over neoliberal austerity and the pro-oligarchy, anti-labor tax policies put in place since 1991.
Like most national security advisors, Brzezinski depicted Russian resistance to U.S. geopolitical strategy as a threat to re-establish the kind of powerful imperial state that has become economically impossible in today's world, except for the United States alone. The U.S. aim is to become unilateral global military tsar (or mother-in-law, or whatever metaphor you might want to use), using the IMF, ECB and EU bureaucracy, NATO, the covert operations of America's National Endowment for Oligarchy Democracy (NED) and Serfdom Freedom House to block foreign resistance to smash-and-grab austerity policy and privatization selloffs.

This perpetual U.S. national security nightmare suspects any industrial power of being potentially military in character. Hence, any nation with a potential to pursue an economic alternative to austerity is a potential enemy.[9]

To military game-players, China and Russia appear as the two great current and present dangers, given their industrialization, control of their own resources and most of all, financial autonomy from the dollar.

Putin made it clear that Russia would be satisfied to see Ukraine as a federalized buffer state, with regional autonomy for each of its ethnic regions. But U.S. strategists fear that this would enable the eastern region, whose export industry is tied to Russian markets, to resist the Eurozone austerity that would force Ukraine to borrow, default, and then pay back by selling off its public domain, banks, farmland, basic infrastructure and industry to Western investors.

The U.S. problem is how to convince Ukraine and other post-Soviet economies to submit to an IMF-EU financial order imposing chronic austerity. The trick is to make Russia look like the major danger, not Western financial austerity and the kleptocracy it supports. When countries waver from following this policy, the fallback game is to make them fear the alternative – a combination of Russian menace and IMF-NATO punishment for not submitting.

In setting the stage for this New Cold War global policy, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul demonizes Putin. Until his election, "Russia was gradually joining the international order,"[10] by which McFaul means that it was on its way to becoming a U.S. economic colony, with its stock market leading global indexes and making fortunes for Wall Street investors. McFaul goes on to accuse Putin of "nationalistic resurgence," by which he means protecting Russia against U.S. smash-and-grab attempts to gain control of its raw materials when he stopped Khodorkovsky's sale of Yukos Oil to Exxon and its partners.

McFaul admitted in another interview: "The reset's been over for a long time. … When President Medvedev was there, we got a lot of things done that made Americans safer and more prosperous …The American national interest, that's what the reset was about. The reset was never about better relations with Russia. Outcomes were what mattered."[11]

Putin was demonized once Russia stopped saying "Yes."

McFaul must be aware of Putin's own explanation for ending the U.S. dream: Contrary to George H.W. Bush's assurances, President Clinton expanded NATO into the former Warsaw Pact members of the old Soviet Union. What ended the "reset" was Obama's violation of his promise to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya, only to have NATO bomb Libya apart. As Putin explained in a speech before the Duma:

This disregard to rule of law was evident in Yugoslavia in 1999, when NATO bombed the country without a UN Security Council mandate …. There was Afghanistan, Iraq and the perversion of the UNSC resolution on Libya, when instead of imposing a no-fly zone NATO bombed the country into submission. …
"They were cheating us once more, took decisions behind our back, presented us with a fait accompli," he said, adding that the pattern is identical to that which accompanied NATO's expansion to the east, the deployment of an anti-ballistic missile system, visa restrictions and numerous other issues.
"They are constantly trying to corner us in retaliation for our having an independent position, for defending it, for calling things by their names and not being hypocritical," Putin accused. "Everything has its limits, and in Ukraine our western partners crossed the red line."[12]

Foreign Minister Lavrov explained that contrary to international law and U.S. promises,

western states, despite their repeated assurances to the contrary, have carried out successive waves of Nato enlargement, moved the alliance's military infrastructure eastward and begun to implement antimissile defence plans. … Attempts by those who staged the secession of Kosovo from Serbia and of Mayotte from the Comoros to question the free will of Crimeans cannot be viewed as anything but a flagrant display of double standards. No less troubling is the pretense of not noticing that the main danger for the future of Ukraine is the spread of chaos by extremists and neo-Nazis.[13]

Putin pointed out that "our partners in Europe recognize the legitimacy of the current Kiev authorities, but are doing nothing in order to support Ukraine; not a single dollar, not a single euro."[14]

It was Russia that was continuing "to give it economic support and subsidize Ukraine's economy with hundreds of millions and billions of dollars for now. This situation, of course, can't continue eternally." In fact, Gazprom cancelled two major gas discounts for Ukraine, normalizing the price from $268 to $485 per thousand cubic meters starting as of April 1.

The Gas dimension and Ukraine's Debts to Russia

The usual Western financial strategy for taking an economy's assets is to subject it to austerity and then foreclose and privatize. The problem is that most Ukrainian debt is owed to Russia. Ukraine has not been paying for its gas this year. Prime Minister Medvedev pointed out that, as President, he "signed the Kharkov Agreement with President Yanukovych. Under the terms of this agreement, we extended our use of the naval base [in Sevastopol] for a long period – 25 years," paying $11 billion in advance. So on balance, Ukraine owes Russia $16 billion over and above the gas debt.

There is a principle in international law, in accordance with which an agreement remains in force only so long as the circumstances that gave rise to it prevail – clausula rebus sic stantibus … I think it is perfectly fair to raise the question of having Ukraine's budget compensate these funds. This could be done through the courts, in accordance with the revoked agreement's terms. Of course, these are tough measures, but at the same time, the agreement no longer has effect, but the money we paid is real, and our Ukrainian partners must understand that nobody hands over money just like that, for nothing.

At the same time, I remind you that Ukraine's debt, public and corporate, to Russia is quite large as it is. This includes the $3-billion loan that we gave them recently in accordance with our agreement to buy Eurobonds, and the nearly $2 billion that Ukraine owes in accumulated debt to Gazprom. All in all then, Ukraine's total debt comes to a very large sum.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: 11 billion plus 5 billion?[15]

Most pressing, of course, is Ukraine's gas bill. Without paying, it may see the gas turned off. And if Ukraine simply siphons off gas being transmitted to Europe, a gas turn-off would threaten about 15 percent of Europe's gas supply.[16]

Yet this seems to be what US-NATO strategy is trying to bring about. If Russia stops sending gas to Europe through Ukraine and does not get paid, the ruble could weaken, spurring capital flight to the West and leaving Russia with less foreign exchange available to rebuild its industrial economy.

Interim Prime Minister Yatsenyuk claimed that the new price for gas was an act of "aggression" and refused to pay anything at all. But he saw no such aggression in the IMF's demand to remove gas subsidies for Ukrainians. The rise in price evidently is to be blamed on Russia withdrawing its discount, not on revoking the domestic gas subsidy. The government's insolvency likewise will be blamed on Russian demands for payment of the debts falling due. To counter this double standard of blame, President Putin pointed out that "the lowest prices were in effect at the beginning of this year and Ukrainian partners stopped paying even at those prices. … April 7 marked a yet another date for payments under the gas contract for March 2014 and they didn't pay us a single dollar or ruble of the $540 million they were supposed to pay."[17]

When Ukraine failed to pay the $2.2 billion payment due on April 7 for the March gas, Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller pointed out that under the terms of its contract this ended the special discount Ukraine had been receiving. It had been "given on the condition that Ukraine would pay all its gas debts and pay 100% for the current deliveries, and it was clearly indicated that if this did not happen, the discount would be annulled in the second quarter of 2014."[18]

Prime Minister Medvedev reiterated that no future shipments would be made without prepayment,[19] and President Putin wrote to European leaders:

Instead of consultations, we hear appeals to lower contractual prices on Russian natural gas – prices which are allegedly of a "political" nature. One gets the impression that the European partners want to unilaterally blame Russia for the consequences of Ukraine's economic crisis.

Right from day one of Ukraine's existence as an independent state, Russia has supported the stability of the Ukrainian economy by supplying it with natural gas at cut-rate prices. In January 2009, with the participation of the then-premier Yulia Tymoshenko, a purchase-and-sale contract on supplying natural gas for the period of 2009-2019 was signed. Ukraine, right up till August 2013, made regular payments for the natural gas in accordance with that formula.

However, the fact that after signing that contract, Russia granted Ukraine a whole string of unprecedented privileges and discounts on the price of natural gas, is quite another matter. This applies to the discount stemming from the 2010 Kharkiv Agreement, which was provided as advance payment for the future lease payments for the presence of the (Russian) Black Sea Fleet after 2017. This also refers to discounts on the prices for natural gas purchased by Ukraine's chemical companies. This also concerns the discount granted in December 2013 for the duration of three months due to the critical state of Ukraine's economy. Beginning with 2009, the total sum of these discounts stands at 17 billion US dollars. To this, we should add another 18.4 billion US dollars incurred by the Ukrainian side as a minimal take-or-pay fine. In other words, only the volume of natural gas will be delivered to Ukraine as was paid for one month in advance of delivery.

Undoubtedly, this is an extreme measure. We fully realize that this increases the risk of siphoning off natural gas passing through Ukraine's territory and heading to European consumers.[20]

Putin might also have mentioned that when Russia lent Ukraine $3 billion in 2013 to support its currency by buying Eurobonds, it included a clause in the contract "that stipulates that the total volume of Ukrainian state-guaranteed debt cannot exceed 60% of its annual GDP. If that threshold is breached, Russia can legally demand repayments on an accelerated schedule," forcing Ukraine to default.[21]

This prospect seems likely in view of the Maiden coup's intention to break Ukraine away from the Russian orbit, disrupting its major export market.

Ukraine's Fragile Economic Structure and Balance of Payments

Reflecting the geographic specialization of labor established in Soviet times, Ukraine is still a major exporter of military equipment to Russia. But Kiev's first deputy prime minister, Vitaliy Yarema, threatened to halt all arms supplies to Russia, stating that "Manufacturing products for Russia that will later be aimed against us would be complete insanity." One report calculates that the range of exports includes "the engines that power most Russian combat helicopters; about half of the air-to-air missiles deployed on Russian fighter planes; and a range of engines used by Russian aircraft and naval vessels. The state-owned Antonov works in Kiev makes a famous range of transport aircraft, including the modern AN-70. The Russian Air Force was to receive 60 of the sleek new short-takeoff-and-landing aircraft, which now it may have to do without."[22]

Ukraine's oligarchs also sell steel and other industrial products to Russia. In the US-NATO plan, these factories would be sold to European investors to produce for Western markets. But Eurozone economies are shrinking as a result of their post-2008 austerity imposed to squeeze out debt service for foreign creditors. So the anti-Russian stoppage of export sales threatens to plunge the hryvnia's exchange rate even further than the 35% decline against the dollar in the first three months of 2014, making it already the world's worst performing currency this year. As Mark Adomanis at Forbes summed up the economic costs of the coup's anti-Russian stance: "Russia has always had the ability to wreck economic havoc on Ukraine, and this should have made the West a lot more cautious about the Eastern Partnership and the general effort to incorporate Ukraine into European institutions. In retrospect the entire effort to sign the association agreement appears to have been a rather reckless gamble which no one knew the stakes of." To avoid a drastic collapse that would plunge the economy into deep depression, the West would have to provide much "more generous (and politically risky) packages of financial assistance." Instead, all the IMF, Eurozone and United States have done is to egg Ukraine down the road toward financial catastrophe.[23]

Blaming Russia for Ukraine's Coming Austerity and New Privatization Sell-offs

The problem confronting US-NATO strategists is how to persuade Ukrainian voters to support the neoliberal austerity model of deep unemployment that will force labor to emigrate westward in a wave of "Ukrainian plumbers." Fanning the flames of resentment from the years of Soviet domination is a tactic that has worked well in the Baltics. Latvia has just joined the Eurozone (following Estonia's lead) and resentment of the World War II and postwar Russian dominance is so strong that the Russian language is limited to 40% of instruction in secondary schools and effectively banned from public universities (with some small exceptions such as Russian literature). The Maidan coup leaders are playing a similar anti-Russian card to focus the coming election on past sufferings instead of on how the coming IMF-dictated austerity will further impoverish Ukraine's economy.

A decade ago Russian President Boris Yeltsin went to Latvia and tried to divert this attitude by saying Russians themselves also were exploited by Stalinist bureaucracy. It didn't have much effect. The trauma of Soviet domination was so strong that Russian-speakers are treated as second-class citizens (many of the older ones without even being granted citizenship). The effect in Ukraine can be imagined by thinking what would happen if Canada were to ban the use of French language in public documents, universities and the mass media. Such a move certainly would prompt Montreal and Quebec to secede. Likewise if New York banned the use of Spanish and encouraged groups expressing a desire to start killing ethnic Hispanics.

For neoliberal US-IMF-NATO strategists, the advantage of fanning ethnic rivalries is to keep focusing Baltic elections on anti-Soviet memories instead of the disaster of neoliberal austerity programs. Playing off ethnic groups against each other has helped lock the Baltics into a pro-EU, pro-austerity program. Ukraine's coup leaders have been even harsher in closing TV stations that broadcast in Russian, arrested and beaten up leaders opposed to the Maidan coup, and deemed opposition to IMF-EU austerity criminal and "separatist." All this has led Ukraine's Russian-speaking eastern provinces to turn to Russia for protection. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claims that the United States is accusing Russia of doing what it itself is guilty of. The Western coup leaders are responsible for breaking up the nation, not Russia. "I will leave these claims on the conscience of our American partners. One shouldn't lay one's own fault at somebody else's door."[24]
As one report has summarized the coup leaders' behavior:

Over the last week and a half the Ukrainian government has tried to arrest every protest leader it can find and charge him with being a separatist. Conviction carries a jail sentence of 5 to 8 years.

The banks here, most notably Privat Bank which is owned by the oligarch Kolomoyskyi, are limiting and freezing the accounts of people throughout the south-east region. For the last month, persons working in the coal and manufacturing industries have been told that if they joined the protests, or even spoke about them on the job, they would be fired. And, for the last two weeks, 30% of the workers' pay has been deducted to support the new National Guard, which is composed mostly of Pravy Sector fighters who have been threatening the population of the region.

Yulia Tymoshenko was quoted last week as saying, "It doesn't matter who wins the presidential election, we all win. We all hate Russia!" By "Russia," she also means the people of south-east Ukraine who won't accept being ruled by an ultra-nationalist government.[25]

The aim seems to be to goad Russia to act intemperately and with brutality, perhaps even to make a serious military move against which NATO can deliver a devastating response from the ships it has moved into the Black Sea. A Russian incursion would support NATO's claim that Europe needs its protection, and also help keep Ukrainian and Baltic voters more fearful of Russia than of the IMF and ECB. The irony is that NATO was supposed to protect Europe from the threat of military conflict with Russia. Its adventurism at the hands of U.S. neocons now threatens to put Europe at risk, while devastating Ukraine's economy.

What Blocks Russia from Offering an Economic Alternative

The Eurozone is turning into an economic dead zone, but neither Russia nor major European parties are proposing to change the regressive rent-extracting tax and financial system that is imposing austerity and enables kleptocrats to bleed the post-Soviet economies, and toward which the West itself is moving.

As noted above, one problem blocking both Russian and Eurozone opponents of financial austerity from presenting such an alternative is the U.S. ethnic divide and conquer strategy of playing to distract populations from debating the real economic issues at hand. Another deterrence is the Thatcherite claim that There Is No Alternative.

Of course there is an alternative. But without going back to the events of 1991-94 and rejecting the path that Russia took under Yeltsin at the hands of the notorious Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID), the US Agency of International Development (AID) and World Bank planners, all that President Putin can do is use personal persuasion. His attempt to stop the bleeding has led the U.S. press to depict him as a tsar, not as a liberator from World Bank-Harvard neoliberalism. When he sought to rebuild Russia, he was accused of becoming an autocrat blocking "free markets," the American euphemism for the kleptocracy that has crippled Russia's ability to steer its development in the way that the United States and Western Europe industrial economies have done.

Given the political alliances in which Ukrainian politics are controlled by an oligarchy, what can Vladimir Putin offer the country? What is needed is a full-blown alternative to neoliberal tax and financial policy. Yanukovich rejected the IMF-EU "aid" with its destructive "conditionalities" of fiscal austerity and financial deflation, but all that Russia can offer Ukraine are subsidies for its politically gerrymandered oligarchy. In Russia, Putin used "jawboning" to urge the oligarchs and them to invest their takings at home to rebuild Russian industry. But without formulating an alternative to the financial and tax system, and indeed an alternative economic model, Russia can't offer a better economic system to its Near Abroad.

The cure for a rent-seeking oligarchy is to tax away rent seeking and de-privatize public monopolies. What Ukraine's kleptocrats have taken (and what foreign investors seek to extract) can be recovered by promoting classical progressive policies taxing land and natural resources, regulating monopolies and providing public infrastructure investment, including a public option for banking and other basic services. That is what drove the U.S. and Western European industrial takeoffs, after all.

It involved a long political conflict with the post-feudal landlord class and financiers, and a similar fight must be waged today. By the time World War I broke out a century ago, social democracy was winning the battle and socialism appeared on the horizon. But today that battle is not even being fought and the economic tools to guide reform – the concept of economic rent as unearned income, and the ability of central banks to create credit in the same way that commercial banks do – have all but disappeared from public discussion.

Russia shies from offering a solution along these lines, because that is labeled "socialist." Without enacting at least the classical criteria of a free market – a land tax, a natural resource and windfall gains tax on "unexplained enrichment, it is hardly in a position to promote these policies in the Ukraine or Baltics.

Neither Russia nor other post-Soviet republics in 1990 understood what finance capitalism and rent seeking are all about – except for the grabitizers advised by Western interests, of course. When it came to helping rebuild the Soviet economies after they sought Western support in integrating after 1990, the World Bank and U.S. neoliberals promoted a neofeudal political and fiscal counter-revolution against Progressive Era reforms. The Cold War thus was ended by a lethal rapprochement between Western financial interests and local political insiders and gangs.

It was the antithesis of political and economic democracy. Yet this is what still binds today's post-Soviet oligarchy to the West, supported by Wall Street, the City of London and German business, hoping to take the privatization windfall in partnership with the kleptocrats. Since 1991 Russia has suffered an average reported $25 billion in capital flight annually, amounting to more than half a trillion dollars over the past two decades. This is revenue that might have been used to modernize its economy and raise living standards. It was deterred by the failure to recognize that the precepts of neoliberalism are the opposite of what made the United States and Western Europe prosperous industrial economies.

At the very least, Ukraine and other post-Soviet economies need modern versions of Teddy Roosevelt, FDR and preferably a Eugene Debs. Economically, they need a Thorstein Veblen, John Maynard Keynes and Hyman Minsky. Such voices existed in Russia in 1991, including Dmitri Lvov at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Many non-neoliberal foreign economists urged alternatives to the World Bank-Harvard promoters of kleptocracy. But instead of creating a system of public checks and balances, the Soviet Union refrained from taxing the economic rents it was privatizing. The result was a travesty of free markets. Instead of the ideas of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and other classical economists urging markets free from unearned income, economic rent and predatory pricing, the West pretended that the antidote to Soviet bureaucracy would be neo-feudal economies free for enclosures of the public domain, rent seeking and predatory pricing.

Do Russia, Ukraine and Other Post-Soviet Economies Have an Alternative to Neoliberal Austerity?

In 1991 the United States and Western Europe did the opposite of helping the Soviet Union create a mixed economy, subsidize industry with a progressive tax system and keep natural resource rent, land rent and financial gains in the public domain rather than being privatized. What the West wanted was to extract these rents for its own investors. Russia was turned into an exporter of oil and gas, metals and other raw materials, while weakening its industrial ability to withstand US-NATO military encirclement.

What is needed today to restore natural resource wealth and post-Soviet land and infrastructure from oligarchs sending their takings abroad is a tax code of land and resource rents for starters. What has been relinquished can be recovered to finance public investment to rebuild their economies. This was the essence of the successful Western model, which saw industrial capitalism evolve toward socialism. It is the antithesis of neoliberalism.

Given the hesitancy of wealthy individuals to give up what they have taken, governments probably need to leave them with the wealth they have taken abroad. But new bleeding can be stopped by a rent tax to recapture the pre-1990 economic patrimony that has been relinquished to the oligarchs and, via them, to foreign investors. The economic rent that Wall Street envisions being paid out as dividends will be taxed away, legally under international law, by a tax code distinguishing economic rent from profits on new manmade capital investment and production.

Neoliberals will denounce this policy as if it signals a return to Soviet Stalinism, as if this ever were Marxist. To neoliberals, kleptocracy and neofeudalism are simply the final stage of socialism. But their present system is more an ideological coup d'état, imposed on the former Soviet Union in a moment when disillusion with bureaucratic collectivism was at its peak.

Reading the Communist Manifesto should dispel any thought that Russians had much familiarity with Marxist economics, or for that matter with the classical political economy out of which Marxism emerged. Marx and Engels described the positive achievement of capitalism as bringing bourgeois Europe out of feudal landlordism and inherited wealth. The ghost of Marx might have spoken to Gorbachev, advising him to pave the ground for industrial capitalism by enacting at least the reforms that Europe's 1848 Revolution advocated: taxing economic rent, followed by instituting consumer protection laws, establishing labor unions, and public banking to take the power of fiat credit creation away from foreign creditors.

The political problem for neoliberalism is how to deter voters from acting in their self-interest along these lines. In Latvia and Ireland voters have submitted to the anti-labor, anti-government policies of global finance. Neoliberals have come to see that they can win at the polls by imposing even more austerity. We are dealing with something like the Stockholm syndrome, most typically when kidnapped victims look to their kidnappers for protection. Poverty begets fear, prompting the weak to vote out of servility to the rich – or against each other in ethnic rivalries. The wider the polarization, the more the poor victims rely on their exploiters, hoping to survive by becoming abject clients in a predatory patronage system.

This means that the further economic inequality widens and the more a population is ground down into poverty and debt, the more the weak identify their interests with those of their oppressors. They believe that their best hope is that somehow the rich will reciprocate by accepting them in a patronage system. The effect is to demoralize populations and make them so fearful that they feel even more dependent on their oppressors, whom they hope will see how obediently they are behaving and will treat them better.

The past century has seen a counter-revolution against the Enlightenment, classical economics and its culmination in socialist hopes to steer industrial capitalism to evolve into democratic socialism. What is occurring today is a self-destructive financial dynamic of impoverishment, dependency and breakdown in many ways like what happened when Rome's creditor oligarchy plunged the Empire into the Dark Age two thousand years ago. The post-feudal real estate and financial oligarchies, the landed aristocracies of Europe and the great banking families and American trust builders have made a comeback, and the New Cold War is intended to lock in their victory. Ukraine is simply the latest battlefield, and battlefields end up devastated.

Footnotes

[1] Michael Hudson is Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at UMKC, and former Professor of Economics and Director of Economic Research at the Latvia Graduate School of Law. His most recent articles on the post-Soviet economies are "Stockholm Syndrome in the Baltics: Latvia's neoliberal war against labor and industry," in Jeffrey Sommers and Charles Woolfson, eds., The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model (Routledge 2014), pp. 44-63, and "How Neoliberal Tax and Financial Policy Impoverishes Russia – Needlessly," Mir Peremen (The World of Transformations), 2012 (3):49-64 (in Russian). МИР ПЕРЕМЕН 3/2012 (ISSN 2073-3038)
Неолиберальная налоговая и финансовая политика приводит к обнищанию России, 49-64.

[2] "The Future of Europe: From Iran to Ukraine: An Interview with George Soros," The New York Review of Books, April 24, 2014, p. 69.

[3] Mikhail Khodorkovsky, My Fellow Prisoners (2014), reviewed by John Lloyd, Financial Times, April 12, 2014.

[4] Sergei Roy, "Ukraine: Triumph, Tragedy, or Farce?" Johnson's Russia List, April 5, 2014.

[5] Manlio Dinucci, "Ukraine, IMF "Shock Treatment" and Economic Warfare," Global Research, March 21, 2014, citing IMF statistics.

[6] "Fatal shootings in Kiev: Who is responsible for the carnage from Maidan," ARD German television, April 10, 2014, translated on Johnson's Russia List, April 14, 2014, #1. The German investigators confirmed from journalists with the protestors that "the hotel on the morning of February 20 was firmly in the hands of the opposition."

[7] David Daley, "'America as the No. 1 warmonger': President Jimmy Carter talks to Salon about race, cable news, 'slut-shaming' and more," Salon, April 10, 2014.

[8] Gideon Rachman, "Lunch with the FT: Lee Hsien Loong," Financial Times, April 12, 2014.

[9] The classic statement is by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz: "Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.", quoting from a Department of Defense planning document, "Prevent the Re-Emergence of a New Rival," February 1992, in P. E. Taylor, "U.S. Strategy Plan Calls for Insuring No Rivals Develop. A One-Superpower World," The New York Times, March 8, 1992.

[10] Michael A. McFaul, "Confronting Putin's Russia," New York Times op-ed, March 24, 2014.

[11] Patt Morrison, "Michael McFaul - an eye on Russia," Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2014.

[12] "Putin: Crimea similar to Kosovo, West is rewriting its own rule book," www.russiatoday.com, March 18, 2014, from Johnson's Russia List, March 18, 2014 #4. See also "Address by President of the Russian Federation," Kremlin.ru, March 18, 2014. Complete text in Russian.

[13] Sergei Lavrov, "It's not Russia that is destabilising Ukraine," The Guardian (UK), April 8, 2014.

[14] "Russia Continues Economic Aid to Ukraine Despite Illegitimate Govt. – Putin," RIA Novosti, Johnson's Russia List, April 9, 2014, #1.

[15] "Meeting with permanent members of the Security Council," Kremlin.ru, March 21, 2014 (from Johnson's Russia List).

[16] Daria Marchak and Jake Rudnitsky, "Ukraine Rejects Gas Price as Putin Waits on Prepayment," Bloomberg, April 10, 2014 (Johnson's Russia List, April 10, 2014, #42). Putin said Europe cannot refuse the delivery of Russian gas without harming its own economic interests. "European countries take around 34%-35% of their gas balances from Russia. Can they stop purchasing Russian gas? In my view, it's impossible," Putin said. ("Putin's Q&A Session 2014," Johnson's Russia List, April 17, 2013, #7.)

[17] "Putin says situation with Ukraine's non-payments for gas absolutely unacceptable," NOVO-OGAREVO, April 11. /ITAR-TASS/ (Johnson's Russia List, April 11, 2014 #4).

[18] Shaun Walker, "Fears of gas war as Ukraine refuses to pay increased prices set by Russian firm," theguardian.com, 6 April 2014.

[19] Jack Farchy, Roman Olearchyk and Andrew Jack, "Kiev faces Russian gas threat," Financial Times, April 10, 2014.

[20] President Vladimir Putin's letter to leaders of European countries. Full text, ITAR-TASS, April 10, 2014 (Johnson's Russia List). At his April 17 annual question-and-answer session, Putin moderated his stance and "said Moscow is ready to withstand the situation on Ukraine's payment for Russian gas for another month, but then will switch to upfront payments for gas, amid Ukraine's inability to pay its debts. 'We are ready to tolerate a bit more, we'll put up with it another month. If over the next month there are no payments, then we will transfer over to the so-called prepayment plan in accordance with the contract,' Putin said." Johnson's Russia List, April 17, 2013, #7: "Putin's Q&A Session 2014: Crimea, Ukraine, Gas, Foreign Policy and Mass Surveillance."

[21] Mark Adomanis, "Ukraine's Economy Is Nearing Collapse," Forbes.com, April 15, 2014.

[22] Fred Weir, "Can Russia's military fly without Ukraine's parts?" Christian Science Monitor, April 10, 2014.

[23] Adomanis, op. cit.

[24] Sergei Lavrov, "It's not Russia that is destabilising Ukraine," The Guardian (UK), April 8, 2014.

[25] George Eliason, "A Changing Narrative in Ukraine," www.opednews.com, April 9, 2014.

[May 17, 2014] Ukraine: Who Wages The Pipeline War?

So who are these "terrorists" that blew up a gas pipeline in west Ukraine?

The Head of Ivano-Frankivsk regional state administration Andriy Trotsenko told there were three explosions at the international high pressure gas pipeline Urengoy–Pomary–Uzhgorod in Nebyliv village, Ivano-Frankivsk region.

As Radio Free Europe informs, Trotsenko has told all three explosions were similar, "the appropriate explosive devices were planted into the ground just below the pipeline". In particular, the remnants of remote-controlled explosive device were found at the scene near Limnytsya River.

The Ivano-Frankivsk Prosecutor's office opened a criminal proceeding upon the explosion at international pipeline. The provisional crime determination is "terrorist attack".

The coup government in Kiev is waging a civil war against federalists in east Ukraine. It calls that war, in which it uses heavy weapons against civilians, an "anti-terrorist operation".

But are those "terrorist" the same "terrorists" that blew up the gas line in west-Ukraine? The coup government would likely be happy if the world starts to believe such. But there are other people, very different from the federalists, who had threatened to blow up these lines:

The leader of the far-right Ukrainian nationalist Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) party has reportedly threatened to attack Russia's lucrative gas pipeline which travels through Ukraine to prevent the Kremlin from sparking a "Third World War".
...
The pipeline in question, the Trans-Siberian Pipeline, supplies Europe with the majority of its gas imports.

"We are well aware of the fact that Russia is earning money by transporting its oil and gas to the West through our pipe," [Dmitry Yarosh] said. "Therefore, we'll destroy this pipe in order to deprive Russia of its financing source."

Posted by b at 02:23 AM | Comments (75)

1500 military conscripts rebelled In the Dnepropetrovsk region of Ukraine

16.05.2014

a riot broke out in the military unit №1302, located in Cherkaska Novomoskovsk district, Dnepropetrovsk region. The soldiers refused to take part in punitive operations against the Donetsk Republic. Despite the fact that representatives of so-called new government of Ukraine ' declared that conscripts will not participate in "anti-terrorist operation" ass a punitive operation in the South-East of the country is called, almost all mobilized citizens from the military unit №1302 has been sent to fight on the territory of Donetsk national Republic.

According to the "Fund against Russophobia", on the territory of the military unit №1302 remained 1500 mobilized conscripts. They refused to obey criminal orders of illegitimate Kyiv authorities and participate in the killing of peaceful citizens of Donbass.

At the moment soldiers rebel at a roadblock near Polushina village. Experts fear that the Ukrainian military and the militants-nationalists from the so-called "National guard" (i.e., "Right sector") can attack servicemen of the unit # 1302. Analysts fear that the Igor Kolomoisky responsible for the killing of civilians Odessa and Mariupol, will initiates the attack of militants on the military unit that rebelled.

Solders were shouting "We will not fight with Donbas", "We need to immediately stop the punitive operation in the South-East!" and "we Demand a referendum and federalization!". Assault on the positions of the servicemen of the unit # 1302 from the neo-fascists of the National guard or other military loyal to junta is expected to start soon.

[May 17, 2014] Note of Presidential election of May 25.

May 12, 2014 | House of Sergant Pavlov

When political observers noted high motivation of voters of big Donbas region during the plebiscite, they rightly recall the dark days of Odessa, Mariupol, or Slavyansk. Or the "trains of friendship" with armed thugs. Used as an argument of Kiev junta, addressed to the South and East. However, one important factor (which I recently discussed it with a young man from Lugansk) goes out of view. But it is important for the Russian South and East. It is the elections of May 25.

The problem is that in modern Ukrainian political space there is no a single influential candidate who would defend in the current conditions, rights and freedoms of millions of voters of the East. Well, you can't consider Dopa to be a real representative of their interests.

Why such a situation happened? The reasons are many. For example, all Ukrainian oligarchs are high-pressed in loyalty to Kiev. MSM are 95% hysterical, deceitful, discourteous and controlled by Kiev junta. And those guys already decided everything with Americans. To clean these, to send those to fight this, and so on.

In the end, the Ukrainian oligarchs are afraid to support South-Eastern half of Ukraine. In a sense of legitimate political influence. Other parts of Ukraine can: Galician Kurds, who are actually forming the official Kiev agenda, criminal adventurists narcoaddict Yulia Timoshenko, cash bags like Poroshenko, etc. But their programs do not include the requirements of the South and East.

And Donetsk see that there is no candidate that can represent thier interests. Only muddy choice: Poroshenko-Tymoshenko. He sees that the candidate of the South, whatever it was, was overthrown by putsch and junta thugs were instlled via US-sponsored coup d'etat. That completes the doom. Other the continued aggression and chutzpa from junta Donetsk voters has nothing to vote for. Because they are considered to be "separatists".

But theoretically those elections could lead Ukraine to more legitimate government and unification of regions instead of separation.

blueher

The question is not in the presence or absence of candidate representing South-East interests. Suppose he is smart, intelligent and expressing the interests of Donbass. Suppose he won (which is now more difficult as Crimea voters swam away, and Crimea has always voted in unison with Donbass)

Now can this candidate come to the inauguration in Kyiv? No, as cheerful guys with experience in street fighting would catch him at the entrance to Kyiv. So there is no chance to calm the Donbass politically via suitable Presidential candidate. There are none.

[May 17, 2014] Charge of the Right Brigade: Ukraine and the Dynamics of Capitalist Insurrection

Quote: "Along with a lot of other people, Ukrainians need to recognize that the "endemic and extraordinary" corruption of their polity is the necessary prerequisite and inevitable result of the restoration of capitalism - of the shock-therapy transformation of post-Soviet Ukraine into a crony capitalist playground. To turn Ukraine (and the Soviet Union itself) into a capitalist society required the creation of creatures that had not existed: capitalists. It required, that is, transferring the industrial "armies" that constitute the capital wealth of the country from public ownership (however well- or poorly-managed) into the hands of private individuals, who can now own and control the wealth of the country for their private gain above all. (You know, those oligarchs who have managed things so much better over the last twenty years.) The only way to do that was by various forms of semi-disguised theft that handed industries over - i.e., sold them at bargain-basement prices-to various candidates, often functionaries of the old regime, who were likely to be compliant with the foreign capital and capitals that were subsidizing and pushing this whole process-no matter what the cost to ordinary Ukrainians. That's capitalism.
Isn't "endemic" corruption a structural feature of capitalism itself? It's quite common in the capitalist world, I've heard, that wealthy billionaires capture the political process, functioning as "what amounts to a shadow government." You say "oligarch" and I say "plutocrat." It's also quite common to think that the problems of capitalism will be solved by better capitalists enforcing more austere capitalism, which will only actually exacerbate inequality, social misery, and corruption itself"

... ... ...

Consider the stunning turn of events we have just witnessed: "the ascension of a genuinely fascist mass movement into the corridors of power" in a European country for the first time since WWII, greeted with a stunning non-chalance-nay, embraced as an exemplar of democracy - by the Western liberal democracies. University of Ottawa political scientist Ivan Katchanovski specifies: "The paramilitary right sector has de facto power at least in some Western Ukrainian regions," and "The far right in Ukraine has now achieved the level of representation and influence that is unparalleled in Europe."37
March 19, 2014 The Polemicist
The money shot:
As tensions rose on the streets of the Russian-speaking eastern portion of Ukraine, the response of the new government in the capital on Sunday was not to send troops, but to send rich people.
The interim government, worried about Russian efforts to destabilize or seize regions in eastern Ukraine after effectively taking control of the Crimean peninsula in the south, is recruiting the country's wealthy businessmen, known as the oligarchs, to serve as governors of the eastern provinces.
The strategy, which Ukrainian news media are attributing to Yulia V. Tymoshenko, a former prime minister and party leader, is recognition that the oligarchs represent the country's industrial and business elite, and exercise great influence over thousands of workers in the east, which is largely ethnically Russian.
The office of President Oleksandr V. Turchynov announced on Sunday the appointments of two billionaires - Sergei Taruta in Donetsk and Ihor Kolomoysky in Dnipropetrovsk - and more were reportedly under consideration for positions in the eastern regions….
The ultra-wealthy industrialists wield such power in Ukraine that they form what amounts to a shadow government, with empires of steel and coal, telecoms and media, and armies of workers. Persuading some to serve as governors in the east was a small victory for the new government in Kiev.1
Has there ever been a more pathetic postscript to a putative "revolution"? This act by Ukraine's new-old rulers encapsulates everything that's wrong with the phony "democracy promotion" advanced by American "regime changers," everything that's wrong with the recent history of the post-Soviet republics, and everything that was wrong with Soviet Stalinism. It's a sorry symptom of the sad state of politics and ideology in Ukraine, and in the whole wide neo-liberal world. More on that later.

Let's take a careful look at what has happened in Ukraine.

It was an insurrection

What occurred in Ukraine is the overthrow of a democratically-elected government and the subversion of parliamentary democracy by an insurrection. There can be no serious argument about this. According to the extant standards of bourgeois democracy, Viktor Yanukovych was freely and fairly elected. There was and is no dispute about that. His party, the Party of the Regions, was elected as the largest in the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian parliament). He was driven out of office and out of the country, and his party was effectively overturned in parliament, by an armed insurrection.

Yanukovych was so corrupt

He certainly was, before and after his election. But so are his political opponents, all of whom are in the pockets of one oligarch or another. This includes his former nemesis, and the woman some in the West see "almost as a modern-day saint,"2 Yulia Tymoshenko, who is a corrupt oligarch in her own right. She made a fortune in sweetheart natural-gas deals in the 1990s with then-Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko-deals for which Lazarenko was prosecuted and convicted, and Tymoshenko named as a co-conspirator, in the United States. This earned her the nickname of "The Gas Princess," and because she was very cozy with Russia in these deals-before, fortune made, she became all anti-Russian and pro-Western-she is also known on the street as "Putin in a skirt.3"

As one commentator remarks:

In a country with endemic and rather extraordinary corruption-which is really the most important issue for many Ukrainians-Tymoshenko's best hope may be that Yanukovych has left behind such obvious symbols of his stupid cupidity.4
Now, The Economist reckons: "One [clear thing] is that the government is going to be controlled by Yulia Tymoshenko… She has no official post, but Mr [Alexander] Turchinov [speaker of the parliament and acting president] is her right-hand man and Mr [Arseniy] Yastsenyuk [the new Prime Minister] is the leader of her party, Fatherland." Actually, I think this may be true in the short run, but it's not a sure bet to last.

The Economist also points out that, behind the public theater on the maidan:

A less visible battle has been going on between various Ukrainian oligarchs and the members of Mr. Yanukovych's extended family who took their place at the trough. These oligarchs used their money, influence and political fronts to pile on pressure."5
The Economist's analysis is echoed by Denis, a member of the Autonomous Workers Union (a revolutionary syndicalist group) in Kiev, in an interview published in mid-February:
Since 2010, Viktor Yanukovych, who had initially been just a puppet of powerful oligarchs, has become an ambitious businessman himself. His elder son has accumulated vast powers; "The Family" occupied important positions in the government, monopolized control over capital flows, and started fighting with Rinat Akhmetov, Dmitry Firtash and other oligarchs who had been their sponsors previously. Naturally, the traditional oligarchic clans didn't like this, so the current protest has also an elite dimension.6
Yanukovych, then, is only the nouveauist of the rich oligarchs, squeezing his snout into the trough with "stupid cupidity." That made him a target of the USDA-approved smartly greedy swine, and a convenient scapegoat to throw under the bus of popular discontent. The Western media won't be featuring shocked, shocked corruption-morality-play tours of Akhmetov's, or Firtsah's, or Tymoshenko's, personal palaces, in Ukraine and elsewhere, with America's Top Designers judging how gaudily or elegantly appointed they are.

So, corrupt indeed. Everyone accuses everyone else of corruption, and they are all right. Transparency International ranks Ukraine 144th (of 177) on its Corruption Perception Index, tied with Nigeria. Corruption is endemic in the Ukraine, and the overthrow of Yanukovych does nothing to overturn that. Even the Rada, now the seat of all power in the new, Yanukovych-free, democratic, Ukraine, is, as The Economist recognizes, "itself the product of this corrupt system, its seats bought and sold by the oligarchs' factions for years." So, "a corrupt, cowardly and thuggish president" has been overthrown, "but the post-Soviet order which prevailed in Ukraine over the past two decades has not been uprooted."

Only in a bizarre-but unfortunately real and elaborate-ideological construct, can a round of oligarchic musical chairs be sold as a victory for "democracy."
It was the "endemic and extraordinary" corruption, the theft of the wealth of society, that, more than anything else, infuriated the people of Ukraine. The Economist correctly notes that "The oligarchs and their political place-men are creatures of the dysfunctional state that Maidan rejects." Yet, it's the oligarchs-"ultra-wealthy" billionaires with "empires of steel"-who are now being sent to rule over, and soothe/placate their "armies of workers." Goodbye, Yanuk, hello, John Galt-ovich.

That anybody thinks billionaire oligarchs are just the ticket to soothe the savage breasts of discontented workers, marks how deeply entrenched capitalist, allied with nationalist, ideologies have become in the post-Soviet states. In Ukraine, and in western Ukraine particularly, Stalin's crimes gave rise to a nasty strain of nationalism that collaborated with the Nazis during WWII (discussed below). This, combined with a visceral rejection of anything calling itself "socialism," has led to a hardening of Ukrainian identity in "nationalist" terms, promoted by Ukrainian educational and institutions. As Denis remarks:

[T]he crash of the "real socialism" also brought about the crash of the progressive values which had been officially promoted in that society (atheism, feminism, internationalism). The gap has been promptly filled by the wild mixture of nationalism and conservatism (and New Age charlatan philosophy, for that matter). This shift was eagerly supported by the state ideological apparatus. Actually, in many universities at the beginning of 1990s the departments of "scientific communism" were rebranded into "scientific nationalism"! Later they became the departments of "political science" though.
It has also led to a host of illusions, reinforced by the messages of Western mass media, about what's on offer in the capitalist West:
[Y]ou should understand that from the very beginning people had a very peculiar understanding of "Europe." They pictured a very utopian ideal – society without corruption, with high wages, social security, rule of law, honest politicians, smiling faces, clean streets etc. – and called it "EU". And when one tried to tell them that actual EU has nothing to do with this pretty picture, that people there actually burn EU flags and protest against austerity etc. – they retorted: "So would you better live in Russia then?" So, yes, from the very beginning the protest was driven by the false consciousness of "civilizational choice", by nationalist ideological patterns which didn't leave any room for the class agenda. These are the results of the bourgeois cultural hegemony, in Gramscian terms, and this is the main problem we should fight in this country over next years (or even decades).

Capitalism, Socialism, Nationalism: Post-Soviet Confusions

In their anti-Russian fury and nationalist rejection of "Bolshevik" class politics, people in the maidan may think they're getting the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but they're going to end up with the real homeless of Camden. The Yanukovych regime itself promoted these Europeanist illusions. Here's Denis again:

EU hysteria [was] provoked by the government itself! For the whole year 2013 they were constantly talking about how Ukraine is going to sign that agreement with the EU. They've roused the expectations of the "pro-European" part of the population, and then, when suddenly they made a U-turn, people were extremely frustrated and angry. That was the initial impulse.
Indeed, Yanukovych dug his own grave in many ways, including his attempts to institute the neo-liberal austerity measures that were demanded by the EU deal:
[T]here are very real reasons for people to hate the government, too. When Yanukovych became president in 2010, he started pushing for unpopular neo-liberal steps. The natural gas tariffs were growing; the government launched medical reform which will eventually lead to closure of many medical institutions and to introducing the universal medical insurance instead of the unconditional coverage [Yanukocare?]; they pushed through extremely unpopular pension reform (raising pension age for women) against the will of more than 90% of population; there was an attempt at passing the new Labour Code which would seriously affect workers' rights; the railway is being corporatized; finally, they passed a new Tax Code which hit small business. But eventually this assault wasn't very successful, and the government had to back off. … They saw they can't move on with such low levels of support. But still, the welfare of the working classes, as well as the general state of the economy leaves much to be desired, and people have all legitimate reasons to demand better living standards. Sadly, these grievances are dressed in the false consciousness of nationalism.
Whatever one thinks of Yanukovych, the idea that, by not signing the EU deal in November, he committed some horrible, treasonous act that compromised Ukraine's independence, is the opposite of the case. Indeed, as Marilyn Vogt-Downey says, in her excellent analysis, Yanukovych "would have severely dampened enthusiasm for this Agreement," if he "had summarized the terms of only one part of it-the Agreement's 'Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area,' and explained what it would mean to the Ukrainian people-namely, "convert[ing] Ukraine into one big 'free trade zone', where the anti-environment, anti-labor, and pro-business laws would prevail." 7

He could not, however, because: "during his time in power, he-like all the Ukrainian rulers since Ukraine became independent with the collapse of the USSR in 1992-had already been pursuing measures similar to those the IMF would impose." So, the popular discontent generated by EU austerity measures led to a popular movement which overthrew Yanukovych, in favor of a government that vows to institute those same EU austerity measures! Discontent against an unpopular elected president has led to his overthrow in favor of an unelected government whose prime minister says: "I'm going to be the most unpopular prime minister in the history of my country."8

As someone who lives a few blocks from Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, the Ukrainian National Home, the Ukrainian Museum, the Ukrainian-American Youth Association, restaurants named Kiev and Veselka ("probably the most famous Ukrainian restaurant in the world"9), whose sister married a Ukrainian-American, and who is a denizen of joints where owners, patrons, and friends are speaking Ukrainian, I humbly submit that: Ukraines who think the government produced by this insurrection, with the EU-IMF initiative it adopts, is going to solve these problems are confused. This "revolution" is not about making Ukraine more democratic or less corrupt; it is about creating a government whose "main responsibility … will be to carry through a social onslaught against the Ukrainian working class at the behest of international capital."10 These measures include the cuts in pensions and crucial fuel subsidies, as well as things like the large-scale fracking deal with Chevron that was announced last week. Economists predict a 10% collapse in GDP; Greece lost 25% in 5 years with the program the new prime minister wants to emulate [see below]. Rest assured, however: Rimat, Dmitri, and Yulia won't lose one estate or one hryvnia.

The new government knows it will have a few months, while everybody's all warm and cuddly in the afterglow of "democratic revolution," to inflict the plague of austerity, before popular anger is turned against it. Arseny Yatseniuk, the American-favored prime minister calls it a "kamikaze government." Oleksandr Turchynov, the president, says: "This government is doomed. Three, four months and they won't be able to work, because they have to make unpopular decisions."11

It's not just wacky socialists who understand things this way. Here's an excerpt from a Forbes article, cogently titled, "Washington's Man Yatsenyuk Setting Ukraine Up For Ruin":
Vladimir Signorelli, president of boutique investment research firm Bretton Woods Research LLC in New Jersey. "Yatsenyuk is the the kind of technocrat you want if you want austerity, with the veneer of professionalism," Signorelli said. "He's the type of guy who can hobnob with the European elite. A Mario Monti type: unelected and willing to do the IMFs bidding," he said. [Mario Monti is an Italian "technocrat"-i.e., IMF stooge-who brought austerity to Italy.]
…Yats had friends in high places and while he does not have strong support of the electorate, and would have no chance of winning an election, he is pro-IMF austerity and apparently the bulk of parliament is as well.
"Yatsenyuk was saying that what the Greeks did to themselves we are going to do ourselves," said Signorelli. "He wants to follow the Greek economic model. Who the hell wants to follow that?"…For economists who think austerity is a disaster, Ukraine is on a path to ruin.
This ruin is going to compound "the scorched earth economics of capitalist restoration" to which Ukraine has already been subject. Ukraine now boasts the highest maternal mortality rate in Europe, and is the 80th poorest country in the world, (based per capita GDP), behind Iraq and Tonga. Since it became "free" in 1991, 15% of its population has emigrated, its birth rate declined, and its population shrank 11%--classic hallmarks of a moribund and dependent "third-world" social economy.12

Along with a lot of other people, Ukraines need to recognize that the "endemic and extraordinary" corruption of their polity is the necessary prerequisite and inevitable result of the restoration of capitalism-of the shock-therapy transformation of post-Soviet Ukraine into a crony capitalist playground. To turn Ukraine (and the Soviet Union itself) into a capitalist society required the creation of creatures that had not existed: capitalists. It required, that is, transferring the industrial "armies" that constitute the capital wealth of the country from public ownership (however well- or poorly-managed) into the hands of private individuals, who can now own and control the wealth of the country for their private gain above all. (You know, those oligarchs who have managed things so much better over the last twenty years.) The only way to do that was by various forms of semi-disguised theft that handed industries over-i.e., sold them at bargain-basement prices-to various candidates, often functionaries of the old regime, who were likely to be compliant with the foreign capital and capitals that were subsidizing and pushing this whole process-no matter what the cost to ordinary Ukrainians. That's capitalism.

Isn't "endemic" corruption a structural feature of capitalism itself? It's quite common in the capitalist world, I've heard, that wealthy billionaires capture the political process, functioning as "what amounts to a shadow government." You say "oligarch" and I say "plutocrat." It's also quite common to think that the problems of capitalism will be solved by better capitalists enforcing more austere capitalism, which will only actually exacerbate inequality, social misery, and corruption itself. Let's call the whole thing off.

But, again, don't take a socialist's word for it. Here's Bogdan Danilishin, a former minister of economy in Yulia Tymoshenko's government (and a former target of "abuse of power" inquiries himself):
In order to be saved, the Ukrainian economy doesn't need 35 billion dollars or even 135 billion dollars. It will be stolen anyway. They just need to check and evaluate all privatization deals made during the last years. All that has been bought for a reduced price or illegally must be nationalized or the difference must be paid to the state budget. All taxes that oligarchs have been exempt from for the last three years must be paid.13
Of course, there's no chance for such a real reform process. It would require a genuinely democratic re-nationalization that would retrieve the wealth of the country stolen by the oligarchs, and the neo-liberal government installed by this putatively democratic insurrection will never consider that. As one commentator wrote on Investment Watch: "The new government might go after a few oligarchs who ended up on the wrong side of the fence. But those who'd backed the uprising directly or indirectly and who are now backing the new government would be able to hang on to their property, their ill-gotten wealth, and their tax privileges."14

You don't have to be a socialist to recognize the problem. (Only to solve it.) I have to agree with our Ukrainian syndicalist, Denis, that the predominance of what he calls "bourgeois cultural hegemony," and the displacement of class with nationalist politics, which makes it so difficult for Ukrainians to see what's happening in these terms, is "the main problem we should fight in this country over next years (or even decades)." Otherwise, they'll be rearranging the deck chaise longues of the oligarchs over and over again. Kamikaze revolutions for kamikaze governments.

Yanukovych was so authoritarian

One can certainly say that Yanukovych had authoritarian tendencies, and that they were getting worse. On January 16th, in the midst of militant anti-government protests that had been going on for two months, he passed a set of harshly repressive anti-protest laws. Predictably, these laws only further inflamed the rebellion, and most of them were repealed or diluted by the parliament on January 28th. No question that the Interior Ministry police, Berkut, were also brutal in their attempts to break up or limit demonstrations and occupations. Of course, as we've seen time and time again, repression – if images thereof are widely broadcast and insistently framed with outrage – only builds popular support for protestors. Protestors' injuries and deaths only intensified the conflict (particularly the deaths from sniper fire on February 20th, more on that later), drew more people into what was incontestably a massively popular movement (in Kiev and the western Ukraine, at least), and intensified protestors' resolve to settle for nothing less than the immediate ouster of Yanukovych.

Whether Yanukovych's police, and attempted legal, repression was unusually more brutal than that of any president in any country, elected or not, who was besieged by a militant movement, no matter how popular, seeking his immediate deposition, I'll leave as an open question. What is unusual in this instance is that the protestors fought back, fiercely and from the get-go. They defended their positions, built strong barricades, prepared for battle, armed themselves with everything from makeshift weapon to firearms (as they thought appropriate), and did not hesitate to go on the offensive when they could. Beatings, and bullets, were flying both ways.

It was a insurrection in which force trumped electoral and constitutional legitimacy

Yale historian Timothy Snyder has taken to Democracy Now and the New York Review of Books as a leading intellectual voice arguing that American liberals should wholeheartedly support the Ukrainian "revolution" and condemn the Russian "invasion" of Crimea. He likes to portray the maidan movement as a kind of utopian, even classical, space of enhanced dialogue, a place where liberal-minded Americans watching Amy Goodman can feel right at home:

But a maidan now means in Ukrainian what the Greek word agora means in English: not just a marketplace where people happen to meet, but a place where they deliberately meet, precisely in order to deliberate, to speak, and to create a political society.15
Pass the talking stick, Plato.

Well, yes, revolutionary uprisings – of which the Paris Commune has been the socialist prototype, after all – are, importantly, that kind of space, the one where people work out how to build a new "political society" with their comrades. They are also, necessarily, this (circa Jan 25th):


And this (circa Jan 21st):

In the language of revolution, agora means battlefield.

Do not get me wrong: I do not present these images as dispositive evidence that discredits the maidan protestors. These kinds of forceful actions – not just defensive, but aggressive actions that advance one's position – are often necessary to fight and win game-changing political battles. It is not I who wants to pretend that revolutionary struggles can and/or must always be won by purely non-violent means. I find the methodical advance of the protestors into the administration building in the first clip quite instructive, for example. Their fierce determination to keep pressing forward, not resorting to firearms as long as the police don't, but using every makeshift weapon they can get their hands on, stripping the police of their armor and pulling them out of formation until they break ranks and retreat – these people didn't come out to express themselves; they came to fight and win. Good for them, depending on what they're fighting for.

As someone who finds it insulting to go to demonstrations in America's most liberal cities, where protestors are literally penned in like cattle, I'd just like to ask those Americans who have seen what happened to their fellow citizen protestors in Seattle, and Pittsburgh, and Wall Street: If protestors from Zuccotti, or Central, or Lincoln, or Lafayette Park, tried to seize and occupy a nearby civil administration building, exactly how many inches do you think they would advance into that structure, exactly how many cops would they set on fire, before they would have the living shit beaten out of them? Before any means that were necessary to stop them were deployed against them?

And exactly how many words of praise and support would American politicians and media personalities have to say about them? How many cookies would they be served?

Yes, the Ukrainian protestors were protected by their numbers and by their large base of political support, which served to buttress their fierce determination. Mass political strength is a powerful weapon. Still, insistent deployment of near-lethal riot-control agents and technologies (sound cannons, etc.), let alone concentrated lethal firepower from the automatic weapons and tanks of an army, can, at least temporarily, overcome even that. Are the Berkut not as heavily militarized as average American urban police department have become? Was the Yanukovych regime reluctant to employ more heavily militarized police weaponry, or to call on the army – whether out of respect for the people, respect for the political costs, and/or fear that orders would not be followed? Is there a high horse here that the American regime can ride on?

As the more trenchant intellectual voice of Stephen Cohen puts it:

But let me ask you, if in Washington people throwing Molotov cocktails are marching on Congress-and these people are headed for the Ukrainian Congress-if these people have barricaded entrance to the White House and are throwing rocks at the White House security guard, would President Obama withdraw his security forces?....We wouldn't permit that in any Western capital, no matter how righteous the cause.16
Let's not forget (if by some chance you were ever made aware) that in the final week of confrontation, it was the protest movement, feeling its increasing power, that repeatedly initiated violent confrontations to get immediate satisfaction of their demands.

As the AP reports:

The latest street violence began Tuesday [February 18th] when protesters attacked police lines and set fires outside parliament, accusing Yanukovych of ignoring their demands to enact constitutional reforms that would once again limit the president's power.17
By Wednesday evening, a truce was announced, but it:
appeared to have little credibility among hardcore protesters. One camp commander, Oleh Mykhnyuk, told the AP even after the alleged truce, protesters still threw firebombs at riot police on the square. As the sun rose, police pulled back, the protesters followed them and police then began shooting at them, he said.
Who's on the offensive?

By Thursday, the 20th, AP cites the Ukrainian Health Ministry as saying that "28 people have died and 287 have been hospitalized this week." In a slightly earlier report, discussing the theft by protestors of 1500 guns, RT says that at "At least 26 people, including 10 police officers, have been killed and some 800 injured since the start of violent riots in Kiev on Tuesday." The AP avoids any mention of police causalities, and avoids any mention of protestors' firearms. They had them and can be seen here using them.18

On Thursday, the worst day of violence:

Fearing that a call for a truce was a ruse, protesters tossed firebombs and advanced upon police lines … in Ukraine's embattled capital. Government snipers shot back and the almost-medieval melee that ensued left at least 70 people dead and hundreds injured, according to a protest doctor. ..In addition, one policeman was killed Thursday and 28 suffered gunshot wounds.
Snipers. They seem always to appear at key moments in protests like these, raining sudden and arbitrary death from above – a particularly vicious tactic, certain to infuriate the protestors and harden their resolve. The new Interior Minister has called the sniper shootings "the key factor in this uprising." Let's remark that, despite the figure in the AP article, there was more than "one" policemen killed by sniper fire, and, despite the presumption of the AP, as well as of Obama and Kerry, it is not all clear that these were "government" snipers. In fact, according to what Estonian Foreign Minister, Urmas Paet, recounted in a phone conversation with EU foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, "What was quite disturbing, this same Olga [Olga Bogomolets, a doctor on the maidan] told that, well, all the evidence shows that people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides… So there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition." "Gosh," says Ashton. We'll return to the sniper issue later.19

Sure enough, this violence catalyzed a political breakthrough, and on Friday, as the AP reported, "a representative from Russia" as well as the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland-met with "the opposition leaders," then with Yanukovych for five hours, then with opposition leaders again, as US Vice President Joe Biden "placed repeated calls to both Ukrainian negotiating sides."20 As a result of this intense mediation a radical new agreement was worked out that represented the regime's virtually complete surrender to the opposition's position. The agreement, which the Russians did not like and "pointedly skipped … signing," called for a unity government, early elections, a return to the 2004 Constitution, and amnesty for arrested protestors. As Vladimir Putin characterized it, implying his dislike: "I would like to stress that under that agreement (I am not saying this was good or bad, just stating the fact) Mr Yanukovych actually handed over power… Moreover, he issued orders to withdraw all police forces from the capital, and they complied."21 Even a Russian leftist critic of Putin, who came to the maidan, remarked: "The president even asked the opposition parties to appoint the prime minister."22 Furthermore, the parliament immediately sealed the deal, enacting laws that would allow for the release of Julia Tymoshenko, curb presidential powers, and make it easier to reverse Yanukovych's decision about the EU economic agreement that had been the original catalyst for the protests.

And, sure enough, that did not satisfy the protestors either:

Militant anti-government activists in Ukraine on Saturday threatened to storm the president's palace and shatter a fragile peace deal to end the ex-Soviet country's bloodiest crisis since independence…
"Elections in December are not enough -- he has to leave now," said 34-year-old Oleh Bukoyenko as he joined 40,000 protesters to hear the peace pact's details announced on the square late Friday….One ultranationalist speaker grabbed the stage on Independence Square late Friday to call on protesters to storm the president's office at 10:00 am (0800 GMT) Saturday should Yanukovych fail to relinquish power overnight.
The call was met with cheers and rounds of applause. Several top opposition leaders meanwhile were booed for signing the compromise agreement allowing Yanukovych to keep his post until snap elections are called by the December deadline….
So, by end of day Saturday, the 22nd, protestors had taken control of the presidential administration buildings "without resistance," and Yanukovych had fled.

Let's put aside for the moment the "content" of this protest and uprising, its ultimate political point and program, and acknowledge the incontrovertible fact that it was an extra-legal, extra-constitutional action that imposed its political will and achieved its one immediate goal – the ouster of Ukraine's elected President – by force. It succeeded by the force of popular pressure and armed resistance and assault on the streets of Kiev, helped along greatly by international pressure, with no real concern for what was legal or constitutional or electorally legitimate. "Coup" is a perfectly reasonable word for what happened, though, in recognition of its significant popular base, I prefer to call it an "insurrection."

In Kiev, with the blessing of virtually all the world's political and media missionaries of capitalist democracy, force trumped elections. This movement deposed a President who had been chosen in a 2010 election that, according to European and NATO observers, "was a good and competitive election and very promising for the future of Ukraine's democracy." It was an election in which there was "a genuine democratic choice between a large number of candidates," and "Open access to information about the candidates and their programmes [that] allowed the Ukrainian voters to make a well-founded choice." It was an election that, as the NATO representative summarized, "the Ukrainian voters won." Sounds to me like an election that was no less "free and fair" than elections held in these VoterID-Electoral-College-Florida-Ohio-Citizens-United States.23

In the parliament, Yanukovych's Party of Regions was "the most widely supported Ukrainian political party…hold[ing] nearly forty percent of the seats in the Rada. No other political party even comes close to holding this type of support in the Ukrainian political landscape or the Rada."24 Furthermore, this movement deposed a President in defiance of the extant constitutional electoral process that had him facing a new election in less than a year, an election no one had any reason to believe would be less fair than that of 2010 – especially since, as we saw above, the President had effectively ceded all of his effective power before the movement's final assault. According to the rules of parliamentary democracy, the proper way to get rid of a corrupt and despised elected leader is to vote the bastard out. If Yanukovych were widely despised, and the Kiev opposition widely supported, throughout Ukraine, he could easily have been removed by electoral means. On the other hand, it may not have been quite so easy, and some serious adjustment to the constitutional-electoral order might have been necessary, precisely because the Kiev opposition still has this to contend with this:

Half the country, it seems, may not be so joyful about the new adventure in insurrectionary democracy.

To pretend that the ex-post-facto parliamentary maneuvers that ratified the result of this insurrection actually confer some kind of retroactive constitutional legitimacy on it is ludicrous. As Nicolai Petro points out, these actions were taken by "a Parliament that rules without any representation from the majority party – since most of the deputies of the east and the south of the country are afraid to set foot in Parliament… [and] all across the country, headquarters of parties are being sacked by their opponents," by a parliament that outlawed the only effective remaining opposition party (the Communists) and that "consolidate[ed] the powers of the speaker of the Parliament and the acting president in a single individual, giving him greater powers than allowed under any Ukrainian constitution," in a context where "Vigilante militias routinely attack and disperse public gatherings they disapprove of."25 Please, let's recognize these parliamentary acts as what they are – the ratification of an insurrection, in defiance of the extant constitutional order. Call them the first steps in a new, post-insurrection constitutional order if you want, but recognize the radical break they represent.

And why not call this what it is? Isn't that what revolutionary change is all about – a radical break with the old order? To reprise what I said in a previous post on Egypt: An electoral process can be a thin facade of democracy and, effectively, a tool of disempowerment, justifying militant extra-electoral politics, or even insurrection. A serious revolutionary conjuncture, a real break into a new social order, usually involves both. It's an unapologetic, forceful, seizure of power that seeks to be definitive and irreversible. (Of course, not every insurrection is a revolution, or even a step forward, but let's leave that aside for the moment.)

As someone who accepts the revolutionary socialist argument, I do not object to extra-legal, extra-parliamentary, insurrectionary politics per se. And guess what? All the self-proclaimed liberal, conservative, moderate, non-violent, constitutional, parliamentary democratic thinkers, politicians and commentators who are proudly and loudly supporting what happened in Ukraine also do not object to extra-legal, extra-parliamentary, insurrectionary politics per se – they just don't want to admit it. Like me, they will support an insurrection, depending on what it's about. Unlike me, they will pretend it wasn't really an insurrection at all, just another, maybe somewhat "messy," but fundamentally non-violent, constitutionally-authorized transition within the rules of bourgeois parliamentary democracy. And that's because, as the man said: We wouldn't permit that in any Western capital, no matter how righteous the cause.

It's quite amusing, until it gets sickening, to watch American leaders-who cling to the notion that a thin, corrupt, disempowering electoral process legitimizes them-embrace the forceful overthrow of a democratically-elected leader in a functioning parliamentary democracy while insisting they are doing no such thing.

Let's recognize that virtually nobody really supports or opposes what happened in Ukraine, or anywhere else, because it was an insurrection, but because of what kind of insurrection it was – what it's explicit and implicit socio-political objective was, what different kind of society and polity it was moving toward creating. And let's recognize that the US would denounce, and help to crush, any insurrection, no matter how popular or righteous the cause, in which leftist forces played anything close to the prominent fighting role that right-wing, neo-fascist forced played in this one. If revolutionary anarcho-syndicalists had been the vanguard of the maidan, Yanukovych would have been America's "democratic" hero.

As for "democracy" (along with "nonviolent," one of the most dishonestly abused words in the American political vocabulary), it certainly does not just mean having an election. It means power to the people. Neither Ukrainian oligarchs, nor the EU-IMF neo-liberal "technocrats," nor the American government, nor NATO, want that. They have too much to lose.

It was a right-wing, imperialist insurrection, powered by fascist groups and permeated with fascist ideology

The overthrow of Yanukovych was an insurrection accomplished by a political movement that was driven by popular socio-economic discontent and thoroughly imbued by "ultranationalist"-i.e., neo-fascist-ideology.
It was decidedly not a revolution, in the strong sense of the word. A revolutionary insurrection marks the beginning of a change in the social order. This movement did not, will not, and, given its foundations, could not, establish a popular government that will create anything like more widespread prosperity and deeper democracy, let alone a new social order.

It was a regime change, fuelled by popular discontent, powered by neo-fascist militants, and surreptitiously managed by American intelligence diplomats, with Ukrainian oligarchs maneuvering for ultimate control behind the scenes-factions that have different, sometimes internally contradictory, agendas. It will create a government that will be controlled by and benefit some Ukrainian oligarchs at the expense of others, that will benefit European and American capitalism at the (acknowledged, indeed promised!) cost of austerity and immiseration for Ukrainian working people, and that will benefit American and NATO plans for an ever-tightening military encirclement of Russia at the expense of possible war and perpetual tension for Ukraine.

The only possibility for a more serious, "revolutionary" break from neo-liberal standards of oligarchic-imperial rule in the near future would come from the neo-fascist groups, who indeed imagine themselves to have a radically different agenda. But guess what? Faced with any popular uprising against its policies, from the right or the left, the new neo-liberal, Euro-facing, Russia-hating, America-loving, Ukrainian government, and its international supporters, will trot out the bourgeois democratic principles that its leaders, of course, never really contravened, and insist, Berkut (by any other name) and all: We won't permit that in our democratic, European capital, no matter how righteous the cause.

Is there anybody who honestly doubts any of this?

Brendan O'Neill makes the point quite nicely:

For what we have in Ukraine is not revolution, but regime change …As for the word 'revolution' … its deployment in Ukraine takes its bastardisation to a new low: there has of course been no replacement of one social order by another in Ukraine, or even the instalment of a people's government; instead various long-established parties in parliament, some of which are deeply unpopular among certain constituencies in Ukraine, are forming an interim government. Revolutionary? Hardly.
The Western debate and coverage … has certainly made externally generated regime change seem revolutionary, and the Western-assisted anti-democratic removal of an elected leader seem like an act of people's democracy. It has exposed a severe dearth of independent critical thinking among the Western commentariat. …
The truth of what has happened in Ukraine is this: the EU and Washington have effectively brought about regime change, replacing an elected pro-Russian regime with an unelected, still-being-formed new government that is more amenable to the institutions of the West.26
Regarding the "fascism" question, Max Blumenthal's Alternet piece, and Per Anders Rudling's detailed scholarly study are indispensable sources. Rudling understates considerably, when he says: "The far-right tradition is particularly strong in western Ukraine." The fascist currents in the Kiev movement are undeniable. They are represented in the parliament by the Svoboda (Freedom) Party (originally called the Social National Party). In December, 2012, the European Parliament condemned Svoboda for its "racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views," and urged other Ukrainian parties "not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with this party."27

As Blumenthal notes, Svoboda's leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, defines his mission as freeing his country from the "Muscovite-Jewish mafia." His deputy, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn founded a think tank named after a historical figure he admires greatly: The Joseph Goebbels Political Research Center. Svoboda's – and, unfortunately, much of western Ukraine's – "nationalism" is embodied in the revered figure of Stepan Bandera, a World War II-era Nazi collaborator who led the pro-fascist Organization of Ukrainian (OUN), which helped to form a Ukrainian division of the Waffen SS to fight with the Nazis against the Soviet Union. From 1942-1944, Yaroslav Stetsko, the "Prime Minister" of ONU-B (Bandera's wing), who supported "bringing German methods of exterminating Jewry to Ukraine," oversaw the killing of "more than 90,000 Poles and thousands of Jews" in western Ukraine. Banderists in Lvov circulated a pamphlet telling the city's Jews: "We will lay your heads at Hitler's feet."28

After the war, Bandera's Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) continued its fascist campaign for "a totalitarian, ethnically pure Europe," engaging in a futile armed struggle against the Soviet Union, until KGB agents assassinated him in Munich in 1959. Nothing "neo" about this Nazi.

Viktor Yushchenko, the president produced by the last American-supported Ukrainian uprising, the "Orange Revolution," put the full weight of the ideological apparatus of the Ukrainian state into reinventing the history of Ukrainian complicity with Nazism into a "national liberation" mythology. He "tasked a set of nationalistically minded historians" into "disseminating a sanitized, edifyingly patriotic version of the history of the 'Ukrainian national liberation movement,' the leaders of which were presented in iconographic form as heroic and saintly figures, martyrs of the nation."

Thus, in 2010, against the protestation of the European Parliament-which he accused of having a "historical complex"-Yushchenko awarded Stepan Bandera the title of "Hero of Ukraine."29 As Rudling notes: "There was little protest from intellectuals who identify themselves as liberals." It was the government of big, bad Yanukovych that later annulled the award.

And thus, still satisfied by their political research, Svoboda led a 15,000-person march in honor of Bandera in Kiev on January 1st of this year, with chants of "Ukraine above all" and "Bandera, come and bring order!"30

Now, as a result of the insurrection, Svoboda, which won about 10% of the vote in the last election, has effectively muscled the much larger (34% of the last vote) Party of the Regions out of parliament, and seeks nationally to outlaw it and the Communist Party (13% of the vote), whose leader's house was burned down. With the help of its Right Sector allies, these parties have already been banned in a number of regions. Svoboda now holds "key leadership positions in the parliament and law enforcement, four ministerial portfolios in the new government [including Prosecutor General and Deputy Prime Minister] and several appointed governorships." Svoboda's co-fouder, Andriy Parubiy, is head of the National Security & Defense Council of the new, democratic, government of Ukraine.31

So, fourteen months after denouncing Svoboda for its "racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia," European governments are gushing over the new "democracy" in Ukraine over which Svoboda presides. And, as the BBC reports: "Inside the columned central hall of Kiev's city council, an activist base of operations, hung a giant banner with a Celtic cross, a symbol of 'white power,' and an American confederate flag….and an immense portrait of Stepan Bandera."32


Keep in mind, too, Rudling's point that the whole Banderist "national liberation" narrative "was well received in western Ukraine but was received coldly or met open hostility in the eastern and southern parts of the country."

As Svoboda represents fascism in the parliament, Right Sector (Pravy Sektor) represented fascism in the maidan, and continues to do so with its intimidating tactics in the streets and administrative offices of Kiev and the regions, as well as from its new positions in government. Right Sector is a confederation of far-right groups such as Patriots of Ukraine, the Social-National Assembly, White Hammer, Stepan Bandera's Trident, and the Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian People's Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO). Their favorite ensign is the wolfsangel--a favorite, too, of the Waffen SS--which was on display all over the maidan:


As Ukrainian journalist Oleg Shynkarenko points out, Right Sector leader, Dmytro Yarosh defines the group's creed thusly: "We are against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism, but we support traditional morals and family values, against the cult of profit and depravity." Right Sector's websites rail against the "liberal homodictatorship" of modern Western society.33 Blumenthal points out that Right Sector is: "linked to a constellation of international neo-fascist parties," and "through the Alliance of European National Movements (AEMN), Right Sector is promising to lead its army of aimless, disillusioned young men on 'a great European Reconquest'." In some ways, the neo-fascist right does want power to the people-just the morally and ethnically pure people.

BBC did a decent report on the "Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine." Again, maybe not so "neo." The reporter, Gabriel Gatehouse, interviews Svoboda and Right Sector militants, meets a group called C14 (apparently an armed wing of Svoboda) under a portrait of Lenin in the Communist Party headquarters they had taken over, and shows two Svoboda MPs displaying "14" and "88" tokens. These numbers, which are often displayed in combination, and which appeared in graffiti throughout the maidan, have special fascist significance: "14" stands for from the Fourteen Words coined by an American white supremacist: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children" (there's an alternate version, about "the White Aryan woman"); "88" represents a double of the eighth letter of the Latin alphabet, HH, for Heil Hitler. [I cannot make this stuff up.]

Yes, it depends what you're fighting for.

My favorite is this 2½-minute tidbit from a young Right Sector gentleman, explaining the group's, and his, affinity for "National Socialist themes," and assuring his interviewer that they want a society that's just "a little bit like" that "under Hitler":


The leader of the Right Sector, Dmytro Yarosh, is now the deputy head of the National Security Council, and is running for President, of Ukraine's new, democratic, government.

You might also take a look at this video, where Right Sector leader Aleksandr Muzychko roughs up a local prosecutor to show him who's the boss now, and threatens to have him lynched: "Shut the fuck up, you bitch! Your fucking time is over… If you think I am goodie because I've come without my rifle, you are gravely mistaken. I've come with a pistol. There are a few choice videos of Muzychko, who is also identified as a member of the "Wiking" unit of the Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People's Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO), another post-Banderist right-wing paramilitary group.

So there's no question that fascists were part of the insurrection, and there is no question that they were crucial to its success. As Oleg Shynkarenko insists, the scenes of fighting resistance and advance were led by Right Sector and allied groups:

[I]t was the far right that first started to talk back to Yanukovych in his own language. They were the first to throw Molotov cocktails and stones at police and to mount real and well-fortified barricades. They were amongst those who burned two military troop carriers that attacked the barricades on February 18. The Euromaidan won thanks to the resoluteness of people who were ready to fight rather than to negotiate in parliament when any negotiation became pointless.
Nicolai Petro agrees, and points out the political ramifications:
I ascribe a much greater role to the Right Sector…the spearhead of the revolution. … [T]he actual coup was accomplished thanks to the armed intervention of extreme nationalists, led by the Right Sector. And the fact that they were so instrumental in accomplishing this change of power has put them in the driver's seat. From now on, whatever political decisions are arrived at will really be at the sufferance of the Right Sector.
Let's be clear, also, that these neo-fascist groups not only fought and defeated Yanokovych's police, they attacked and drove away any political group from the left that tried to establish a presence in the maidan. The fascists made sure they controlled the radical politics of the square. Sascha, a member of AntiFascist Action Ukraine, a group that monitors and fights fascism in Ukraine, recounts in an interview published in mid-February:
A group of 100 anarchists tried to arrange their own self-defense group, different Anarchist groups came together for a meeting on the Maidan. While they were meeting a group of Nazis came in a larger group, they had axes and baseball bats and sticks, helmets, they said it was their territory. They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists. There weren't even any Communists, that was just an insult. The Anarchists weren't expecting this and they left. People with other political views can't stay in certain places, they aren't tolerated.34
And Mira, of the same group, adds:
One of the worst things is that Pravy has this official structure. They are coordinated. You need passes to go certain places. They have the power to give or not give people permission to be active. We're trying to be active but we have to avoid Nazis, and I'm not going to ask a Nazi for permission!...
Early on a Stalinist tent was attacked by Nazis. One was sent to the hospital. Another student spoke out against fascism and he was attacked.
Pravy Sektor got too much attention after the first violence, the media gave them popularity and they started to think they're cool guys. Pravy existed before but now it's growing and attracting a lot of new people.
Ilya Budraitskis, a Russian Socialist who came to the maidan in January, tells us how the "ultranationalists" brutalized and evicted everyone from leftish Europhiles to anarchists:
Another part of the left repetitively tried to join the movement, even after they were repetitively kicked out of it. Some of the "euro-enthusiastic" leftists came to Maidan in November with red (instead of blue) flag of the EU, with banners for free healthcare and education, and with feminist slogans. They were brutally attacked by Nazis. Then there was an episode when the far-right attacked the tent of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine near the Maidan. A man on the stage said that there were some "provocateurs" and said that "men know what to do"; as a result, a mob of Nazis has broken ribs of the trade union activists, tore their tent with knives and stolen their property. The victims hadn't been doing anything "leftist" per se, but they were members of the left movement, known to their political adversaries, and that was enough….
[T]here is also another group of people who are often confused with the radical left. …who call themselves anarchists but actually have a very conservative political agenda full of machismo and xenophobia. After the protests have begun, they shifted to the right dramatically; they reached truce with the nazi groups and showered Molotov cocktails at the police together. Eventually, they parted ways with left movement finally.
A week ago they, together with some actual leftists who wanted to "act", decided to form an "anarchist sotnia [defense unit]" in the Maidan self-defence. In order to do that, they were prepared to give an oath to [Svoboda leader] Andriy Parubiy. But when they formed their ranks to do this, they were met by approximately 150 Svoboda fighters with baseball bats and axes. The fascists accused them of being racially impure and politically irrelevant and forced them out of Maidan.35
So much for Professor Snyder's agora.

Of course, the great majority of the people in the square are not fascists, but, for all the reasons of history and ideology discussed above, a lot of people in western Ukraine are susceptible to their charms. As Denis, from Kiev Autonomous Workers Union says: "[I]n the long run the rightist political hegemony is being reinforced," because "That's what happens when you don't have a developed left movement and your liberals are too corrupt and ugly!" Here's how he describes the rightward political momentum on the maidan:

[Far right] ideology has really become more acceptable in the mainstream (which had initially been leaning to the right!). ... Of course, most protesters really say they want political pluralism, bourgeois democracy. … But at the same time the crowd at the Maidan revives some deeply buried pre-modern, medieval social practices like whipping post, lynching, reinforced traditional gender roles. This scary readiness to slip into barbarism is born from the general disenchantment with parliamentary politics and the ubiquitous nationalist mythology about the golden past, imposed in schools and media.
The original Euromaidan agenda in November was a right liberal one, standing for the EU, "economic liberties" and bourgeois democracy. But even then the issues of multiculturalism, LGBT rights, workers' rights and freedoms were severely repressed by the politically conscious far-right activists … [whose] political programme had always included critique of the EU's "liberal fascism". … The attackers didn't represent the majority of protesters, but the majority was very susceptible to their political agenda which they had been aggressively pushing through…
[P]eople are new to politics, they just "know" they are rightists and nationalists. And therefore they trust the more politically experienced leaders to express their views and formulate their programme for them. It just so happens that those leaders are nationalists or even Nazis. And they shift the centre of the political discourse even further to the right.
But, first of all, their ideas are welcome among the apolitical crowd; second of all, they are very well organized, and also people love their "radicalism". An average Ukrainian worker hates the police and the government but he will never fight them openly and risk his comfort. So he or she welcomes a "vanguard" which is ready to fight on their behalf; especially if that vanguard shares "good" patriotic values….And since the basic "common sense" had long ago been established on the nationalist fundamental assumptions, the radicalization goes only further in that direction.36
As we all know, fascists don't have to be a majority to determine outcomes, and their power to do so can increase very quickly under favorable conditions. Perhaps the most telling, and disturbing remark of the leftists cited in these interviews was this, from Sascha of AntiFascist Action Ukraine, a couple of weeks before the head of Right Sector became deputy head of the National Security and Defense Council: "If Pravy [Right Sector] has positions in a new government that would be really dangerous but that isn't possible, they aren't powerful enough."

Oh, yes they are. Consider the stunning turn of events we have just witnessed: "the ascension of a genuinely fascist mass movement into the corridors of power" in a European country for the first time since WWII, greeted with a stunning non-chalance-nay, embraced as an exemplar of democracy-by the Western liberal democracies. University of Ottawa political scientist Ivan Katchanovski specifies: "The paramilitary right sector has de facto power at least in some Western Ukrainian regions," and "The far right in Ukraine has now achieved the level of representation and influence that is unparalleled in Europe."37

Then imagine, please, Professor Katchanovski's last sentence with "left" substituted for "right," and consider how unthinkable it is that any American government would be so welcoming of such a "democratic" outcome. The United States and its allied liberal democracies are, in other words, willing to accommodate very hard swings to the right in order to secure and/or extend the neo-liberal capitalist, and US/NATO imperialist, order, but will abide not an inch of movement toward resistance from the left-no matter how righteous or democratic the cause.

The "liberal-nationalist" alliance, the American role, and what it portends

Might we interrupt the rejoicing over the rebirth of democracy in Ukraine to ask: Have the US and European governments given a thought to how their embrace of a government including Svoboda and Right Sector in Ukraine implicitly legitimizes and emboldens the far-right and neo-Nazi movements in Britain, and France, and Sweden, et. al.? Because those movements have.38 Ukraine now has a government that is, as Eric Draitser puts it, "essentially a collaboration between pro-EU liberals and right wing ultra-nationalists." Israel Shamir is on to something, when he remarks that "a union of [right-wing] nationalists and liberals" has become "the trademark of a new US policy in the Eastern Europe." As he reminds us: "[L]iberals do not have to support democracy. They do so only if they are certain democracy will deliver what they want. Otherwise, they can join forces with al Qaeda as now in Syria, with Islamic extremists as in Libya, with the Army as in Egypt, or with neo-Nazis, as now in Russia and the Ukraine."39 Or, as Pepe Escobar puts it:

Everyone remembers the "good Taliban", with which the U.S. could negotiate in Afghanistan. Then came the "good al-Qaeda", jihadis the US could support in Syria. Now come the "good neo-nazis", with which the West can do business in Kiev. Soon there will be "the good jihadis supporting neo-nazis", who may be deployed to advance U.S./NATO and anti-Russian designs in Crimea and beyond.40
Lest one think this is a fanciful compilation, be aware that Right Sector leader and new deputy head of the National Security and Defense Council, Dmitry Yarosh, has called upon Caucasian jihadi, Doku Umarov, to "support Ukraine now," "to activate his fight" against Russia, and "take a unique chance to win." Doku Umarov calls himself 'Emir of the Caucasus Emirate'. He has claimed responsibility for attacks that killed dozens of Russian civilians-including the 2010 Moscow Metro bombings and the 2011 Domodedovo International Airport bombing. He is on the UN Security Council's Al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions list, and the US government has a posted a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.41

It does get confusing. The frenemy of my frenemy, or something like that.

This has become a formula, and a favorite part of it involves street protests that begin as democratically-inspired movements against corruption and/or authoritarianism, and turn sharply violent when the standard scenario of water-cannon and tear-gas police repression vs. rock- and Molotov-throwing protestors gets brutally escalated by something like….snipers.

Snipers are a vicious weapon. I think whoever is responsible for their use in the maidan protests deserves the world's condemnation. I also know that nobody knows who is responsible, and no one should accept the pure assumption that they were "government" snipers. The leaked Estonian foreign minister's phone call, mentioned above, which raised the "stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers ...was somebody from the new coalition," has cast widespread doubt on the "government sniper" assumption.

According to the AP, the new Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, asserts: "I can say only one thing: the key factor in this uprising, that spilled blood in Kiev and that turned the country upside down and shocked it, was a third force…And this force was not Ukrainian." Commanders of police sniper units have denied receiving orders to shoot anyone, and the new Deputy Interior Minister seems to believe them. Imputing a rather complicated motive, he thinks the sniper shooting were "intended to generate a wave of revulsion so strong that it would topple Yanukovych and also justify a Russian invasion." The new Health Minster thinks Russian special forces were involved.42

An American analyst, on the other hand, claims that, "According to veteran US intelligence sources, the snipers came from an ultra-right-wing military organization known as Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People's Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO)."43

One might also keep in mind the hacked emails of opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko, leaked by Anonymous Ukraine (or Russian intelligence), discussing plans for "destabilization," "radical escalation," and the arrival of "colleagues" whose "services may be required":

"Our American friends promise to pay a visit in the coming days, we may even see [Victoria] Nuland or someone from the Congress." 12/7/2013
"Your colleague has arrived ….his services may be required even after the country is destabilized." 12/14/2013
"I think we've paved the way for more radical escalation of the situation. Isn't it time to proceed with more decisive action?" 1/9/201444
Every scenario is crazy in one way or another, including the one in which the Yanukovych government, ignoring all the clear lessons of recent history regarding the effects of sniper fire during protests, stupidly thought that killing protestors and policemen would calm the waters. I hope those who are responsible for the sniper attacks are identified and punished, and I do not rule out any possibility. The Russians claim to want the same thing, and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has called for a full OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) investigation, which Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin insists, would draw "a completely different picture …compared to what is being depicted by American media." Let's see if there is a real investigation, and who will support it. In the meantime, we should remember the Syrian chemical attack, and refuse any argument for aggressive action based on a false assertion of certainty about who is responsible for this.45

Let's also take a look at the role of the US in the Ukrainian liberal-"ultra-nationalist" alliance, keeping in mind what I said above about all the actors in this drama having different, sometimes clashing, and sometimes internally contradictory, agendas.

The point is not that the US controlled everything in the Ukrainian uprising. It does not control as much as it thinks, and, as we've seen repeatedly, it often gets surprised when it gets what it asked for. It already has been surprised in this case, as we'll discuss below. But the US, especially when acting in concert with its allies, can significantly affect the course and outcome of events. It has enormous powers, and uses them relentlessly, in public and private, to get what it wants. Not least of these powers is its ability, through its influence on ubiquitous Western media outlets, to withhold and confer a sense of legitimacy. It did just that in Ukraine, with considerable success. Brendan O'Neill makes the incontrovertible point:

The regime change that occurred [in Ukraine] would have been unthinkable without something else, without an additional force - outside pressure. ..
[Western governments] both undermined the legitimacy of the Yanukovich regime and conferred political and moral authority on to the protest camps. They did this firstly through issuing statement after statement over the past three months about the out-of-touchness of Yanukovich,… and secondly through imbuing the protest camps effectively with the right to rule Ukraine. The camps were visited by leading European and American politicians, who told the protesters theirs was a 'just cause' and that they have 'a very different vision for the country' to Yanukovich – a better one, of course. The consequence of such 'mediation' (meddling) was to isolate Yanukovich and embolden the protesters, creating the space for anti-Yanukovich politicians to manoeuvre themselves into positions of power.
Let's recall the name of arch-neocon Victoria Nuland (wife of arch-neocon Robert Kagan), Assistant US Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, whose leaked "Fuck the EU!" conversation with the American ambassador in Ukraine brought her out of the shadows as the behind-the-scenes point person for US management of the Ukrainian "revolution."

In December, 2013, after her third trip to Ukraine in five weeks (including the one where she passed out cookies to maidan protestors), Nuland reminded a meeting of the International Business Conference that the US "had 'invested' more than $5 billion and 'five years worth of work and preparation' in achieving what she called Ukraine's 'European aspirations.'" She also said she "made it 'absolutely clear' to Yanukovych that the US required "immediate steps" …to 'get back into conversation with Europe and the IMF.'" As Renee Parsons puts it, it was "As if [Nuland was] intent on providing incontrovertible evidence of US involvement in Ukraine."46

In regard to the leaked phone conversation, American media focused on the Nuland's salty language, but the more important substantive point of her remarks, as Peter Lee points out, "was that Nuland was calling for the EU to be sidelined because it was not being sufficiently aggressive on the issue of threatening pro-Russian figures with sanctions." She also wanted the more popular Vitalyi Klitschko and Svoboda leader Oleh Tiahnybok to step aside and allow the more "economically experienced" (i.e., IMF-friendly) Arsenyi Yatsenyuk take the leading role in the new Ukrainian government. She also specifies the supporting role the UN is being assigned. She got everything she asked for.47

Nobody who hears this tape can credibly deny that the United States, through Nuland, was intimately involved in micro-managing the outcome of this independent, nationalist, Ukrainian movement:
Yats is the guy that who's got the economic experience the governing experience he's the… what he needs is Klitsch and Tiahnybok on the outside he needs to be talking to them four times a week you know.
Ok. He's now gotten both [Dutch diplomat Robert] Serry and Ban ki-Moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. That would be great I think to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, fuck the EU.
But anyway we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast.48
[all quotes from Nuland]
Throughout the crisis, the US was pushing hard for the EU to take punitive measures against the Ukrainian government, and to impose sanctions on its key officials and oligarchical backers. Peter Lee describes Nuland's strategy as an effort "to remove the initiative in Ukraine negotiations out of the hands of Germany and the EU." He speculates-reasonably, I think-that this had to do with accommodating the American military, as well as the neo-liberal economic, agenda: "Victoria Nuland, in allegiance to her neo-con roots, aggressively facilitated a government that was simultaneously pro-US, anti-Russian, and non-EU-oriented and would therefore see no problem with facilitating a cherished US objective-evicting the Russian Black Sea Fleet from Crimea." The Germans were certainly pissed off about the high-handed American attitude.49

So the Americans may have been attempting a delicate triangulation, in which the hard anti-Russian sentiment of the ultranationalist Ukrainian right was instrumental for their military agenda, without being so obvious as to lose any support of less confrontational Euro-liberal parties.

But they may have been too clever by a third.

Let's put aside for a moment the fact that Russia saw what was going on, and acted pre-emptively to stop it. The scent of brewing trouble between Ukrainian neo-fascists and their cosmopolitan patrons in the Euro-American politico-economic elite wafts forth from Right Sector's rejection of the "cult of profit and depravity" as well as what the English captions of their video clumsily describe as "any integrations on terms that dictates not Ukraine." The Ukrainian right, embodied in both Svoboda and Right Sector, is, after all, ultra-nationalist, and has a very good idea of the national serfdom that awaits Ukraine in the EuroAmerican-IMF neo-liberal global village. Ukrainian rightists, too, are ready to say "Fuck the EU!" They want Ukraine to be a strong, morally and ethnically pure, a brick in the wall of the GRE-the Great European Reconquest.

As Jack Rasmus points out, however:

Both the EU and USA want reliable (and pliable) capitalist politicians in Parliament and the Ukrainian government. That means politicians who will follow their economic policies and integrate the Ukraine into the western economic orbit. In other words, politicians that respond correctly when threats to freeze their personal assets in Switzerland and Luxembourg are raised, as has been the case in the days immediately preceding February 20.
The west's gamble is their hope they can exclude the radical, ultranationalist and proto-fascist forces on the ground that served as the battering ram to bust down the door of the Yanukovych regime; or at least minimize their influence in the government. But that task that will not prove so easy, they may find.50
The far-right has its claws deep in the new political order in Ukraine. After all, it considers that it has the right to rule. It may not be so easy to co-opt or push aside, and it is capable of causing a lot of trouble.

Of course, the more astute neo-fascist leaders will make various purring sounds to persuade their anxious Euro-American patrons that they can play nice. Thus, as Blumenthal recounts, Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok-eager to deflect any notion that their anti-"Muscovite Jew" Banderist ideology has anything to do with anti-Semitism, and knowing that there's no better way to please the American government than to show one's belly to Israel-recently hosted the Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine. In what, for those who have a "historical complex," is one of the saddest of ironic moments, Tyahnybok appealed for solidarity thusly: "I would like to ask Israelis to also respect our patriotic feelings… Probably each party in the [Israeli] Knesset is nationalist. With God's help, let it be this way for us too." Birds of an ultranationalist feather, and all.51

The showdown will likely come, however, over whether the neo-fascist right will be tame enough to roll over for the IMF-friendly neo-liberal oligarchs and their political henchpersons. To prepare for the eventualities, the US and friends will want to shower the interim government with beefed-up police equipment and training, in order to make sure that no street protest can get anywhere near the traction of the maidan of the last few months. You know, to protect the now-democratic (unelected) government against an undemocratic popular insurrection.

On the other hand, as Julie Hyland reports, the far-right is now entrenching control of its own national military force, in the form of a 60,000-strong National Guard, "recruited from 'activists' in the anti-Russian protests and from military academies." This force was just established by the Ukrainian parliament, and will be overseen by Svoboda's own Andriy Parubiy.52 Ukraine's neo-fascist right may have been a tad too well nourished on Victoria's baked goods, and the US's neo-liberal plans may not get swallowed so easily. These guys are ready to fight. They may be inclined to be independent of, and resistant to, an EU-IMF agenda. The Russian reaction in the Crimea has already taken the US off-guard, and the new armed forces of the Ukrainian right can now create a lot of trouble throughout the Ukraine, which could provoke the wider conflict with Russia that they are itching for, and that Europe, and even the US, can ill afford.

I've got no happy ending. As I said above, possible war and perpetual tension is what's in store for the Ukraine. And America's cookies may land jelly-side down.

Russia and Crimea

I hold no love for Russia under Putin, although I do not consider him the comic-book villain he is now being cast as. Russia has its own problems with post-Soviet oligarchic capitalism and a confused nationalist mythology. The re-annexation of Crimea is a dangerous gambit, and arguably, but not certainly (see below), in contravention of international law. Nothing here to celebrate.

It's also true that, in this situation, the US is being hoisted on its own petard of utter disregard for what I previously called "the carefully-constructed and delicate post-war architecture of international law and institutions." It's the United States (along with its ward state, Israel) that has routinely ignored issues of national sovereignty and international law, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives, over decades-and have suffered no sanction for doing so. Their actions, more than anything else, have rendered the always-fragile construct of international law practically a dead letter. You can't bomb and/or invade Lebanon, Cuba, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Serbia, Iraq, Libya, et. al., to install your favored government (all but one thousands of miles from your territory), and then stand in politico-moral judgement over another country's incursion into and recapture of a contiguous region that had been part of its national territory until 1954.

Especially when that happens with the consent of ithe people in that territory, and without a single casualty. Neither the Russians, who lost 20 million people to fascism in WWII, nor the Crimeans (Crimea being part of Russia at the time), have any mythologized confusions about fascist historical heroes, or any reason not to fear and reject the resurgent fascism at the door. Western countries, in fact, could use a little of that anxiety.

In the global context they have created, American leaders can't think they'll be taken seriously when they say: "You just don't in the 21st Century behave in 19th Century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext."

Furthermore, US foreign policy since the fall of the Soviet Union has been particularly contemptuous of Russia. Bush I promised Mikhail Gorbachev that the US would not expand NATO to take in the Eastern European and Baltic states, and he, Clinton, and Bush II proceeded to do just that. They took it for granted that Russia-under the leadership of their corrupt and drunken stooge, Yeltsin, and economically devastated by the American-led shock-therapy restoration of capitalism-could do nothing. With his war on Russia's close ally, Serbia, Bill Clinton (proving that NATO never was a defensive alliance) announced that, henceforth, NATO was free to attack any country on Earth--its concept of right trumping the United Nations process and all other notions of international law; he, too, presumed Russia could do nothing about it. In Libya, the US lied to get the Russians (and Chinese) to vote for a "humanitarian" mission, and then blatantly disregarded the terms of the UN resolution and bombed the crap out of Libya for the purpose of "regime change"-assuming Russia could do nothing about it. G. W. Bush and Obama have pushed NATO forward more aggressively, and moved to station "missile defenses" in Eastern Europe that everyone with half a brain, and certainly Russia, knows are weapons designed to enable US first-strike capability-taking for granted that Russia could do nothing about it.

Well, today, in Crimea, Russia-which has every reason to suspect US/NATO plans for Ukraine and for its only warm-water port-can do something about it. It's not something very nice, but nor is it a hundredth as destructive as what the United States has been doing, or certainly would do in the same circumstance. Putin can cite the Obama administration's own statement to the UN International Court on Kosovo:

"Declarations of independence may, and often do, violate domestic legislation. However, this does not make them violations of international law." End of quote. They wrote this, disseminated it all over the world, had everyone agree and now they are outraged. Over what? The actions of Crimean people completely fit in with these instructions, as it were.53
And he can then go all Victoria Nuland on the US. There's really nothing the US can do, or even credibly say, about it. Fortunately, nobody has the stomach for war.

Like a lot of us, the Russians may have thought something else was possible after the break-up of the Soviet Union. But, for the past twenty-some years, the United States was content to ignore international law, and re-create that Great Power world in which one country could invade another country on completely trumped-up pretext-because it took for granted that it was the only Great Power.

No happy ending, for Americans or Ukraines. It's a very dangerous world we now live in; somebody could get the stomach. It was Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama who created this world. The Russians have only decided they're going to live in it. And so will we all.

_________________________________
[See follow-up post on Ukraine developments at: Good for the Gander:Ukraine's Demise Accelerates.]
Notes and Links, and Coda

1Ukraine Turns to Its Oligarchs for Political Help - NYTimes.com

2 Yulia Tymoshenko is back centre stage in Ukraine – but not all want her there | World news | The Guardian

3Ukrainian Protesters See Too Many Familiar Faces in Parliament After Revolution - NYTimes.com

4The Dubious Businees of Ukraine President Yanukovych and His Clan - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Christopher Dickey, Yulia Tymoshenko: She's No Angel, Daily Beast

5Ukraine: The February revolution | The Economist

6Ukraine: The left and the movement to overthrow Yanukovich: two interviews | Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, reposted from Pratele Komunizace

7Whither Ukraine? " CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

8Washington's Man Yatsenyuk Setting Ukraine Up For Ruin, Forbes.com

9The Restaurant Veselka Is a Beacon for Ukrainian Immigrants - NYTimes.com

10Julie Hyland, What the Western-backed regime is planning for Ukrainian workers - World Socialist Web Site

11Economist, op. cit.

12Hyland, op. cit.

13Valentin Mândrăşescu, 'Western financial aid won't save Ukraine' – former minister of economy - The Voice of Russia

14Wolf Richter Aid For The Ukraine "Will Be Stolen" – Former Ukrainian Minister Of Economy | InvestmentWatch

15Timothy Snyder, Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine | The New York Review of Books

16A New Cold War? Ukraine Violence Escalates, Leaked Tape Suggests U.S. Was Plotting Coup | Democracy Now!

17Medic: At least 70 protesters killed in Kiev - Yahoo News

18LiveLeak.com - Ukrainian protesters with guns caught on tape

19Ukraine crisis: bugged call reveals conspiracy theory about Kiev snipers | World news | The Guardian

20Militants threaten to shatter fragile Ukraine truce - Yahoo News

21 Vladimir Putin Talks To Reporters About Ukraine – Information Clearing House

22Ukraine: The left and the movement to overthrow Yanukovich: two interviews | Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

23Ukraine's presidential election meets most international commitments - Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

24Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, The Road to Moscow Goes Through Kiev: A Coup d'Etat That Threatens Russia | Global Research

25A Coup or a Revolution? Ukraine Seeks Arrest of Ousted President Following Deadly Street Protests | Democracy Now!

26Ukraine: This Isn't A Revolution – It's Regime Change

27Max Blumenthal, Is the U.S. Backing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine? | Alternet

"The Return of the Ukrainian Far Right: The Case of VO Svoboda," in Ruth Wodak and John E. Richardson (eds.) Analyzing Fascist Discourse: European Fascism in Talk and Text (London and New York: Routledge, 2013), 228-255. | Per Anders Rudling - Academia.edu

Nicolai N. Petro, Threat of Military Confrontation Grows in Ukraine | The Nation

28Blumenthal, Petro, and Justin Raimondo, A Monster Reawakens: The Rise of Ukrainian Fascism -- Antiwar.com

29 Yushchenko: European Parliament has 'historical complex' with respect to Bandera

3015,000 Ukraine nationalists march for divisive Bandera

A lot of Ukrainians like to convince themselves that, as one of the January demonstrators insisted, "Bandera never was on the Germans' side," and that he was just about national independence. They'll cite the fact that he was imprisoned by the Germans in 1941, when his faction of the OUN (OUN-B) "came to control the OUN's Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and declared an independent Ukrainian state … as a satellite of Nazi Germany," which apparently was a little too assertive (or perhaps oxymoronic) for the Germans. But Bandera was back in German favor by 1944, and actually "set up a headquarters in Berlin and oversaw the training of Ukrainian insurgents by the German army." Bandera's "younger and more radical" OUN faction (ONU-B) was somewhat more ambivalent about the Ukrainian Waffen SS division than the "older, more moderate" (OUN-M) of Andriy Melnyk, but the ONU-B "did not interfere in i[the division's] formation and once the division was formed it sent some of its members, a number of whom would obtain prominent positions." Both factions of the ONU "were enthusiastically committed to a new fascist Europe." And it was the UPA, under Bandera's "top deputy and acting 'Prime Minister,'" Yaroslav Stetsko, that "killed tens of thousands of Poles in 1942-44." The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists portrayed Russians, Poles, Hungarians and Jews - most of the minorities in western Ukraine - as aliens and encouraged locals to destroy "Poles and Jews." All this goes to show is that Bandera was as ardently racist and anti-Semitic as he was nationalist. Ukrainians who imagine that Bandera was not an outright fascist are kidding themselves. It's a little like believing that Confederate statesmen weren't really racists, just proponents of "states' rights." Read the Per Anders Rudling article to get the full flavor of it.

The French were responsible for a vicious imperial occupation of Vietnam. Nonetheless, when given the easy opportunity, Ho Chi Minh did not confuse an alliance with Japanese "fellow-Asian" imperialism with a worthy strategy for Vietnamese nationalism. Stalin's many horrible crimes committed against Ukraine (at the same time he was murdering thousands of Russian revolutionaries) are no excuse for a nationalism that wants to lay the heads of Jews, and prostrate itself, at Hitler's feet.
For a taste of the US partnership with Ukrainian fascists, see the recent interview with Russ Bellant, "Seven Decades of Nazi Collaboration: America's Dirty Little Ukraine Secret," based on his 1991 book, Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party: Domestic fascist networks and their effect on U.S. cold war politics. [Reference added 5 May 2014]

31Nazemroaya, op. cit., and Brian Becker, Who's Who in Ukraine's New "Semi-fascist" Government: Meet the People the U.S. and EU are Supporting | Global Research]

32BBC News – Ukraine's revolution and the far right

Burning Ukraine's Protesters Alive

May 10, 2014

Exclusive: For the second time in a week, Ukrainian anti-regime protesters holed up in a building were killed by fires set by pro-regime attackers with ties to newly formed neo-Nazi security forces, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

In Ukraine, a grisly new strategy – bringing in neo-Nazi paramilitary forces to set fire to occupied buildings in the country's rebellious southeast – appears to be emerging as a favored tactic as the coup-installed regime in Kiev seeks to put down resistance from ethnic Russians and other opponents.

The technique first emerged on May 2 in the port city of Odessa when pro-regime militants chased dissidents into the Trade Unions Building and then set it on fire. As some 40 or more ethnic Russians were burned alive or died of smoke inhalation, the crowd outside mocked them as red-and-black Colorado potato beetles, with the chant of "Burn, Colorado, burn." Afterwards, reporters spotted graffiti on the building's walls containing Swastika-like symbols and honoring the "Galician SS," the Ukrainian adjunct to the German SS in World War II.

This tactic of torching an occupied building occurred again on May 9 in Mariupol, another port city, as neo-Nazi paramilitaries – organized now as the regime's "National Guard" – were dispatched to a police station that had been seized by dissidents, possibly including police officers who rejected a new Kiev-appointed chief. Again, the deployment of the "National Guard" was followed by burning the building and killing a significant but still-undetermined number of people inside. (Early estimates of the dead range from seven to 20.)

In the U.S. press, Ukraine's "National Guard" is usually described as a new force derived from the Maidan's "self-defense" units that spearheaded the Feb. 22 revolt in Kiev overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych. But the Maidan's "self-defense" units were drawn primarily from well-organized bands of neo-Nazi extremists from western Ukraine who hurled firebombs at police and fired weapons as the anti-Yanukovych protests turned increasingly violent.

But the mainstream U.S. press – in line with State Department guidance – has sought to minimize or dismiss the key role played by neo-Nazis in these "self-defense" forces as well as in the new government. At most, you'll see references to these neo-Nazis as "Ukrainian nationalists."

Turning to the Neo-Nazis

However, as resistance to Kiev's right-wing regime expanded in the ethnic Russian east and south, the coup regime found itself unable to count on regular Ukrainian troops to fire on civilians. Thus, its national security chief Andriy Parubiy, himself a neo-Nazi, turned to the intensely motivated neo-Nazi shock troops who had been battle-tested during the coup.

These extremists were reorganized as special units of the National Guard and dispatched to the east and south to do the dirty work that the regular Ukrainian military was unwilling to do. Many of these extreme Ukrainian nationalists lionize World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera and – like Bandera – dream of a racially pure Ukraine, free of Jews, ethnic Russians and other "inferior" beings. The slur of calling the Odessa protesters Colorado beetles - as they were being burned alive - was a reference to the black-and-red colors used by the ethnic Russian resistance in the east.

Though the mainstream U.S. press either describes Parubiy simply as the interim government's chief of national security (with no further context) or possibly as a "nationalist," his fuller background includes his founding of the Social-National Party of Ukraine in 1991, blending radical Ukrainian nationalism with neo-Nazi symbols. Last year, he became commandant of the Maidan's "self-defense forces."

Then, on April 15, after becoming the Kiev regime's chief of national security and finding Ukrainian troops unwilling to fire on fellow Ukrainians in the east, Parubiy went on Twitter to announce, "Reserve unit of National Guard formed #Maidan Self-defense volunteers was sent to the front line this morning."

Those National Guard forces also were reported on the ground in Odessa when the trade unions building was torched on May 2 and they showed up again in Mariupol as the police station was burned on May 9, according to a report in the New York Times on Saturday.

The Times mentioned the appearance – and then disappearance – of the National Guard without providing any useful background about this newly organized force. In the language used by the mainstream U.S. press and the Kiev regime, the neo-Nazi brigades are "volunteers" and "self-defense" units while the rebels resisting the post-coup regime are "pro-Russian militants" or "terrorists." The Times reported the May 9 attack in Mariupol this way:

"Ukraine's interior minister, Arsen Avakov, wrote on Facebook that about 60 pro-Russian militants had tried to seize the city's police headquarters. The police called for support from the Ukrainian national guard, a newly formed force of quickly trained volunteers drawn from participants in last winter's street protests in the capital. Mr. Avakov wrote that 20 'terrorists' had died in the fighting, while those who survived dispersed and hid in a residential neighborhood."

The Times added: "The national guard, though, pulled out of the city soon afterward …. Residents who had gathered around the police station offered an account that differed from the interior minister's. The city police, they said, were sympathetic to the pro-Russian side and had mutinied against an out-of-town chief newly installed by the interim government in Kiev.

"Armored vehicles had driven into the city to confront the rebellious police, not the militants, residents said. Holes in the brick wall suggested heavy weaponry. Gunfire echoed downtown."

After the deaths inside Mariupol's police station, the Kiev regime rejoiced at the extermination of a large number of "terrorists." As the UK's Independent reported, "The military action is accompanied by stridently aggressive rhetoric from politicians in Kiev who are crowing about the numbers of 'terrorists' killed and threatening further lethal punishment."

The Kiev's regime's concern that some local police forces have at best mixed loyalties has led it again to turn to the Maidan "self-defense" forces to serve as a special "Kiev-1" police force, which was dispatched to Odessa amid that city's recent violence.

Deniable Forces

Though many Americans don't want to believe that their government would collaborate with neo-Nazis or other extremist elements, there actually has been a long history of just that. In conflicts as diverse as the revolutions in Central America and the anti-Soviet Afghan war in the 1980s to the current civil conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, it has not been uncommon for the side favored by the United States to rely on extremist paramilitary forces to engage in the most brutal fighting.

In Central American conflicts that I covered for the Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s, some of the "death squads" associated with pro-U.S. regimes were drawn from neo-fascist movements allied with the far-right World Anti-Communist League. In Afghanistan, the CIA relied on Islamist extremists, including Saudi jihadist Osama bin Laden, to kill Russians and their Afghan government allies.

Today, in Syria, many of the most aggressive fighters against Bashar al-Assad's government are Arab jihadists recruited from across the region and armed by Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms. So, it fits with a pattern for the U.S. government to hold its nose and rely on neo-Nazis from western Ukraine to take the fight to rebellious ethnic Russians in the east and south.

The key to all these unsavory alliances is for the American people not to know about the real nature of these U.S. clients. In the 1980s, the Reagan administration advanced the concept of "public diplomacy" to intimidate journalists and human rights activists who dared report on the brutality of U.S.-backed forces in El Salvador and Guatemala and the CIA-trained Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

Thus, most Americans weren't sure what to make of recurring reports about right-wing "death squads" killing priests and nuns and committing other massacres across Central America. Regarding Afghanistan, it took the American people until Sept. 11, 2001, to fully comprehend whom the Reagan administration had been working with in the 1980s.

Similarly, the Obama administration has tried to maintain the fiction that the Syrian opposition is dominated by well-meaning "moderates." However, as the brutal civil war has ground on, it gradually has become apparent that the most effective anti-Assad fighters are the Sunni extremists allied with al-Qaeda and determined to kill Shiites, Alawites and Christians.

So, it should come as no surprise that the Kiev regime would turn to its Maidan "self-defense" forces – formed around neo-Nazi militias – to go into southern and eastern Ukraine with the purpose of burning to death ethnic Russian "insects" occupying buildings. The key is not to let the American people in on the secret.

[For more, see Consortiumnews.com's "Ukraine, Through the U.S. 'Looking Glass.'"]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry's trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America's Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

Samantha Power's brazen hypocrisy Media swallows propaganda, but here's the truth about Ukraine

May 7, 2014 | Salon.com

Samantha Power's brazen hypocrisy: Media swallows propaganda, but here's the truth about Ukraine

The media swallows U.S. propaganda whole. Here's the truth about Ukraine -- and what it shows about American power
Patrick L. Smith

Topics: Ukraine, Putin, John McCain, Mohammed Morsi, Egypt, Viktor Yanukovych, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Editor's Picks, News, Politics News

Samantha Power's brazen hypocrisy: Media swallows propaganda, but here's the truth about Ukraine
John McCain, Barack Obama, Samantha Power (Credit: AP/Chris Usher/Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Eduardo Munoz/Salon)

Ukraine comes full circle. In six months, a troubled but intact nation is now pulled to pieces. Vasyl Krutov, the general in charge of what the provisional government in Kiev insists on calling its "anti-terror" military campaign in the east and south, acknowledged over the weekend that the country is "essentially at war."

Ukraine's elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, had to go in February because of the violence that had erupted in Independence Square, scene of demonstrations since the previous November. We still do not know who was responsible for the shootings used to justify the Yankuovych coup, but we know this: The provos who took his place are now doing the shooting - killing their countrymen, reclassified as terrorists, by the score.

Samantha Power, the most tendentious hypocrite in the Obama administration (and the competition is keen), defends these murderers thusly: "Their response is reasonable, it is proportional, and frankly it is what any one of our countries would have done in the face of this threat," Power said in the Security Council at the weekend.

Does this remind you of anything? It should. Is this not a replay of the Egyptian catastrophe? An elected leader trying to hold a nation together on its own terms is deposed, what follows is magnitudes worse than anything the deposed leader ever dreamed of, and the army is turned loose on those it is supposed to defend. The Americans, having backed the putschists from the shadows, tell you, "No, that was not a putsch you just watched. It only looked like one. The elected guy was replaced violently by the unelected in the service of a democratic restoration. And there will be another election, under the auspices of the unelected, to confirm all this as best."

For its speed and sheer wastage, Ukraine's arriving fate is astonishing. It is a spectacle.

And this is the one good thing about the Ukraine calamity: The anatomy of it is all there, spectacularly. I cannot recall a moment so revelatory. Very little is hidden, even as much was meant to be. Precisely the effort to hide things is in plain sight. Pay attention and there are some things to learn, primarily about ourselves.

I am encouraged in this connection. So far as I can make out, a quite considerable proportion of the paying-attention public now adopts a posture of resistance in the face of official narratives. It suggests an important passage in the late-afternoon hours of America in its (long) phase of imperial pretension.

True, the orthodoxy has rarely been more forcefully or universally pressed than in the Ukraine case. The official line is reproduced incessantly with no deviation moving the needle even a couple of ticks either side of zero. Vladimir Putin has intervened (and never mind that he has demonstrably acted with restraint). Kiev stands for all Ukrainians (a falsehood not even debatable). Those opposed to Kiev are separatists (even as Kiev proposes to separate Ukraine from swaths of its past).

It is everywhere, never more so maybe, but has it ever been flimsier? And beneath the surface, where interesting things always begin, the orthodoxy seems not to play all that persuasively even in Peoria.

It is the clarity of our moment, even amid all the blur, that I am trying to get at. And two things emerge more clearly than any other. Let us look briefly at each.

One is the intent and operation of American policy in the post-Cold War, post-George W. era. This is now nakedly before us, and it is our shared responsibility to see it for what it is.

Here Ukraine takes its place as one thread in a weave. For all the talk of 21st century diplomacy and an adjusted place in a more complex world, Washington remains in the business of eliminating national leaders who decline conformity within the neoliberal order.

I mentioned Ukraine and Egypt. And the comparison holds with regard to the two presidents shoved aside. Yanukovych and Mohammed Morsi had one thing in common. They were both trying to run their nations to reflect the identities of their people. This was their sin. This is what Washington has not yet learned to tolerate.

It is against the rules to recall this, but Yanukovych was a man of the Russian-influenced east trying to negotiate a relationship with Western Europe that would accommodate the complex tendencies evident among Ukraine's 46 million people. He failed, for reasons previously explored in this space (if not in our media), but his project was the right one.

As to Morsi, same thing. His project was to develop a democratic model in the context of an Islamic-majority nation. The lines between religion and politics are drawn differently in Islamic civilization. So? Again, the endeavor was the right one for Egypt - and therefore the wrong one for the Americans.

One example in the Morsi case. Recall, among his more egregious faults was his effort to clean out the Mubarak-era judiciary. Prima facie evidence of his anti-democratic intentions, we all read. Now, as the old judges sentence 600 to death at a time, we can understand, if we try to. Morsi was right: These guys are savages, anti-democratic by any measure.

As has been so for more than a century, there is near unanimity, across all aisles, on the ambition of American policy abroad. You have liberal Democrats every bit as aggressive as militarist Republicans such as John McCain. Their differences are merely to do with method.

Again, Ukraine is an especially contentious case of what goes on in numerous places. We know there has been CIA involvement in the Yanukovych coup - director John Brennan confirmed this when he visited Kiev a few weeks ago (another failed effort to get it done secretly). But we do not any longer "negotiate with extreme prejudice," as the spooks used to call assassination plots. (Remember this wonderful euphemism?)

Subversion is cleaner now. Diplomats do a lot of the work. We use NGOs, civil society groups and agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy. There is more apple pie in it. We invest in social media projects, and who can stand against social media?

For context here, see Venezuela, where the nation-building set has been outed three times in the past year. Or the social-media program in Cuba - not covert, says the State Department (which funded it), but "discreet." Or similar projects in Afghanistan and Pakistan, two others among the many not so far revealed. Two years ago Putin was condemned when he insisted NGOs funded from abroad register as foreign agents. Remember? When the State Department voiced "deep concern," he condemned the Americans for "gross interference." Now you know what he meant.

This is American foreign policy Version 2014: Often disrespectful, often unlawful, purposefully destructive of order, possessing no idea of limits. There is no more Saddam Hussein, and it takes some doing to bring him in for reconsideration, no more Gadhafi, no Morsi, no Yanukovych, there would be no more Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela if Washington had its way. You have to climb over a mountain of prejudice and misinformation to consider what Washington has done wrong in these cases, but it is wrong. The quality of these leaders has nothing to do with it.

"The first casualty of war is truth." Most journalists, at least of my cohort, know this sentence from the Philip Knightley book "The First Casualty," a history of war correspondents that begins, ironically, in mid-19th century Crimea. Maybe we should be talking about the State Department's war, not its policy, because the reporting of it has been near to fatally awful.

This is my other point of clarity. The media entered the post-Cold War era in bad shape, having surrendered almost all ground that separates them from power (political, corporate, financial by way of the stock market). But they are now not short of craven.

There have been red-handed cases to match the WMD-in-Iraq bit Judith Miller made infamous: Washington's role in the Egyptian coup, the gas attack last August in Syria, now the State Department's provocative manipulations in Ukraine. But beyond these, you find a day-to-day effort to slant and mislead, a grinding, relentless use of vocabulary, juxtaposition, innuendo and other such devices that poisons the news columns.

Again, we have our saving grace. I harbor no illusions: Millions of people read and watch these Washington-generated narratives and believe them. But the forward edge of the phenomenon is how many people no longer do or never have.

We enter a new space, it seems to me - gradually maybe, but we are unmistakably leaving Kansas behind. You cannot conduct a foreign policy indefinitely without a domestic consensus, and 1) there is none now, even in the fearful age of "terror," and 2) more important, there seems little prospect of one in formation. I take the dissent to be seen and heard around us as a memo from the future.

Neither can you run media successfully when your problem is far greater than the technological change journalists focus upon: the problem that increasing numbers of people do not believe what you say. Media in this phase are by definition on a slide. A great newspaper remains great when, in some little or large way, it builds upon its greatness in every edition. To live on past greatness, consuming it but adding nothing - this is called decline.

Being an exquisitely balanced columnist, I end with mention of a remarkable piece that appeared in the New York Times last Sunday. The big boys and girls running things must have liked it, for they splashed it across four columns, above the fold on "1," and with a huge photograph. Take a look.

In "Behind the Masks in Ukraine, Many Faces of Rebellion," C.J. Chivers and Noah Sneider did some superb reporting. They spent many days with anti-Kiev fighters in Slovyansk, the eastern city they now control. They went to the barricades, the checkpoints, the backyard barracks. They sat at the table where Tanya, mother of one of them, gives them dinner. You can practically smell the gun oil these guys clean their weapons with.

But here is the truly remarkable thing. Chivers and Sneider took on the freighted question of just who these fighters are. And they reported back honestly. No Russians among the so-called green men, we now know. They are "ordinary Ukrainians," to take the two correspondents' term for the leader. The propaganda term "separatists," which appears by the blizzard in typical news reports, comes once - when a fighter refutes it as a preposterous description of their intent.

"The rebels of the 12th Company appear to be Ukrainians but, like many in the region, have deep ties to and affinity for Russia," Chivers and Sneider tell us. "They are veterans of the Soviet, Ukrainian or Russian Armies, and some have families on the other side of the border. Theirs is a tangled mix of identities and loyalties."

What do these Timesmen describe here? Nothing less than people walking around in their history, nothing more than people who do not want to be ripped from their past like summer weeds at the hands of provos in Kiev manipulated by Americans with agendas (of which the people of Slovyansk appear to be entirely aware).

The piece goes straight against almost all other Times reporting from Ukraine, but sometimes these things happen. The sea of compromised coverage has since flowed back over this story as if Chivers and Sneider had never written it, and this happens more than sometimes.

First editions of "The Book of Laughter and Forgetting" for these two, if ever they come my way. "The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting," Kundera famously wrote in that masterpiece. That is what you heard in Slovyansk, guys.


Patrick Smith is the author of "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century." He was the International Herald Tribune's bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote "Letter from Tokyo" for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist.

roger kydet

Excellent article! I hope people will read it. Those who claim it "irresponsible" should first see horrible murders committed by the extremists (e.g. Odessa, Mariupol), supported by the new so-called "government", and indirectly approved by the US administration. It's completely false that voter turnout in eastern Ukraine's referendum was only 10%. NOT TRUE. I know many people from there and it strikes me how the media are trying to deform and to hide the facts. People are fed up with extremism and there is nothing surprising that they don't want to to be part of the state that is literally falling apart, because of the irresponsible politics led by US.


Konstantin. Spb.Russia

Thank you for the Тruth, very pleased that you understand what happens....

Bernie2

Even with our own Washington agendas on global power, we need to stop filtering our views of global crises through our own dirty screens based on our disgust with our own government's agendas. We are no different than Ukrainians, and we need to supports THEM. Media reeks today, so it is our responsibility to get balance in what we learn about any given situation. Writers like this guy are irresponsible. They put Ukraine in harm's way by backhandedly supporting Putin's appetite for Ukraine.

The Polemicist Good for the GanderUkraine's Demise Accelerates

May 4, 2014 | thepolemicist.net
Ukraine, Interrupted

"Ukraine" means "borderland," and if there were ever a country suffering a borderline personality disorder-barely "keeping itself together," as we say-it is Ukraine. Suddenly, it's been deprived of its meds (discounted gas and other Russian-provided subsidies), and goaded into a schizophrenogenic family crisis (the American-sponsored overthrow of its elected government, resented by half the country). After the maidan mania, came the Crimea depression, and now, it seems, rapid and radical decompensation.

Before the maidan winter games, if some in the country (Kiev "liberals") were looking for the cure from Dr. America and Nurse NATO, standing by to treat the flailing patient with their straitjacket of austerity and electroshock-and-awe therapy, perhaps some are now realizing that these practitioners' cures only increase the crazy.

Since my last detailed post, the Ukraine situation has indeed been devolving rapidly, both within the country and on the level of international geopolitics. It's hard to see where Ukraine is going-whether it will survive as a unified state at all (even sans Crimea), and it is hard to see how seriously the world will be riven by a "new Cold (or even hot) War." American political and media discourse is now completely dominated by the "aggressive Russia/nasty Putin" meme, but it would be wise to look carefully at the different axes of major, and lesser-included subsidiary, contradictions to see the real web of tensions which the "new Cold War" narrative is designed to occlude.

In Ukraine itself, the major contradiction revolves around the country's social future: What will be the path of social development? Who will control it? In whose interests?

Unfortunately, the starting point for those questions in Ukraine right now is the underlying socio-economic crisis brought about by the oligarchic polity and social economy that is the result of the restoration of capitalism. As I previously pointed out, the "Western" (i.e., American)-influenced process of capitalist restoration in Ukraine involved the quick-and-dirty creation of a capitalist class via the barely-disguised theft of public property by those called "the oligarchs," to whom the country's wealth and political power were acceded during the last 20 years. Michael Hudson sums it up nicely:

What happened in Ukraine is what happened in Russia and all the other post-Soviet economies. American advisors came in and said "Just give away all the public property to individuals. It doesn't make any difference who you give it to; property has its own logic."1
Patrick Smith points out that America's "shock therapy" formula for the quickest possible restoration of capitalism in post-Soviet states was designed not only to eliminate public ownership of social capital (what Marxists call the "productive forces"), but also to eliminate the possibility of a decently progressive social democracy, which would itself be too discomfiting for the reinvigorated, rapacious neo-liberal capitalist order into which these countries were meant to take their subservient place.2 Thus was born the Wild, Wild East. Do not pass Roosevelt. Go directly to Robber Baron. The Great Leap Backward.

Having run out of ways to hide, via international indebtedness, the full social disaster of that neo-liberal strategy, Ukraine has to decide what path to take in the immediate future. Therein lies the major contradiction in Ukrainian society and politics.

Now, I would define this fundamental contradiction as one between a model of development whose first priority is to ensure the "right" of billionaires to appropriate vast amounts of social wealth and attendant political power versus one whose first priority is to produce a decent and improving social life (jobs, housing, healthcare, education) and real political empowerment for the majority of people. If one were to focus on that contradiction clearly, the path forward would begin with something like Bogdan Danilishin, a former minister of economy, suggested:

In order to be saved, the Ukrainian economy doesn't need 35 billion dollars or even 135 billion dollars. It will be stolen anyway. They just need to check and evaluate all privatization deals made during the last years. All that has been bought for a reduced price or illegally must be nationalized or the difference must be paid to the state budget. All taxes that oligarchs have been exempt from for the last three years must be paid.3
Unfortunately-for all kinds of historical, cultural, and political reasons, ranging from the millions of Ukrainian victims of Stalinism eighty years ago to the billions of dollars spent by America during the last five years-most Ukrainians now think this contradiction as a conflict between "European"-oriented West and the "Russian"-oriented south and east. And it is on those terms that Ukraine was brought to a political crisis point by the US-supported Kiev insurrection.

Though this kind of thinking represents confusions on everyone's part, I have to say that the biggest fools here are the "Europeanists" – anyone who actually believes that Yanukovych did not sign the EU deal because of his love for Russia or Putin, and/or that not signing the deal compromised Ukraine's independence or jeopardized its possibility for a prosperous and democratic future. (I suppose that mainly means Western-NGO-educated Kiev liberals.)

In fact, as a Reuters report in December emphasized, consistent with his oligarchic position as a proponent of Western capitalism, Yanukovych was a fierce advocate of integration with the EU. In a meeting in September, for example: "For three hours Yanukovich cajoled and bullied anyone who pushed for Ukraine to have closer ties to Russia. …'Forget about it ... forever!' he shouted at them, according to people who attended the meeting. Instead the president argued for an agreement to deepen trade and other cooperation with the European Union…. 'We will pursue integration with Europe,' he barked."4

Indeed, Yanukovych's government was the prime teller of European fairy tales. In September, his prime minister, Mykola Azarov, painted the picture of sugarplums to come: "We all want clean air and water, safe food, good education for our children, up-to-date medical services, reliable legal representation, etc. All these are not abstract terms, but norms and rules that are already in place in the EU, which we need in Ukraine."

A couple of months later, the same Azarov, apparently forgetting that he was one of those "so-called leaders," was telling the people: "So-called leaders tell us fairy tales about how, once we had signed, we would be able to travel to Europe without visas. Nothing of the sort. To get that we would have to fulfill a whole raft of conditions."

In fact, Yanukovych balked at finalizing the EU agreement because, when the real numbers were put on the table, it was a bad deal. A really bad deal: "[Volodymyr] Oliynyk, who is Ukraine's permanent representative for NATO, and others were furious. He told Reuters that when Ukraine turned to Europe's officials for help, they 'spat on us.'…'We could not contain our emotions, it was unacceptable.'"

It's noteworthy that Azarov emphasized how the agreement would not make Ukrainians eligible for European visas-I'm guessing since the ability to get to jobs in Western Europe was one of the more enticing sugarplums for non-oligarchic Ukrainians. But it indicates a significant-though, of course, hardly publicized-point in the agreement that was a particular craw-sticker for the Ukrainians: They would be second-class citizens, inferior to "even" the Poles. "Yanukovich was also offended when he found out Kiev would not be offered a firm prospect of full membership of the EU; he felt Ukraine was being treated as a lesser country to 'even Poland', with which it shares a border…'Many citizens have got it wrong on European integration. It is not about membership, we are apparently not Poland, apparently we are not on a level with Poland ... they are not letting us in really, we will be standing at the doors. We're nice but we're not Poles.'" How many Europhile Ukrainians, who might well share the sense of insult, were even aware of this condition?

Beyond this blow to Ukrainian sensibilities, the EU agreement has to be understood as an invasion, part of what Michael Hudson identifies as "today's financial war against the economy at large"-an ongoing financial war that is as devastating to countries as any shooting war:
The weapon in this financial warfare is no larger military force. The tactic is to load economies (governments, companies and families) with debt, siphon off their income as debt service and then foreclose when debtors lack the means to pay. Indebting government gives creditors a lever to pry away land, public infrastructure and other property in the public domain.5
It's a financial war. And finance really is war by other means, the way it's being conducted today, because the objective of finance in Western Europe is the same as that of war. It wants to appropriate land. It wants to appropriate basic infrastructure, all the monopolies. And it wants to extract tribute, and this usually in the case of debt service.…. So what Europe wants is all of the property that the Ukrainian kleptocrats, the people who rule the country and have appointed themselves the leaders, have basically stolen when they registered the steel mills, the land, the factories, everything in their own name, and they've kept Ukraine one of the poorest countries in Europe, very low labor.…
And now Western Europe has come to them and said, okay, now we're going to make a deal. We're going to let you keep what you have, but you have to sell us part of what you have, and we want you now to–we're going to encircle Russia. We want you to make a very anti-Russian move.6
Leaving aside the "encircle Russia" point for the moment, the EU agreement would have "captured" the Ukrainian economy. As Marilyn Vogt-Downey makes clear, in her analysis aptly subtitled, "An Imperialist Invasion Without an Imperialist Army," its specific provisions would make "impossible any Ukrainian economic planning that did not follow the guidelines established by the IMF and other imperialist lending agencies," would "mandate...that capitalist profits be only minimally taxed, the government provide generous financial support and tax breaks for capitalist ventures, public services be privatized, and restrictions on transfer of capitalist profits abroad be minimal." As a result, she points out, "Ukraine would find it very difficult to ever escape the debt cycle," and "it would be difficult, if not impossible for any Ukrainian government to raise funds for basic institutions people need to live a quality life."7

As Joseph Stiglitz learned about the IMF and the World Bank, when he was the latter's chief economist: "They were interested in one thing. They looked at the country and thought, 'they need to repay the loans they owe to Western banks. How do we get that to happen?'…They were interested in milking money out of the country quickly, not rebuilding it for the long term."8

"Anti-communist" protestors in what was known as the Euro-maidan, and their liberal supporters in the West, might take heed of what Ronald Reagan's Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and supply-side guru has to tell them about the capitalism they were actually fighting for:

Ukraine will never see one dollar of the IMF money. What the IMF is going to do is to substitute Ukrainian indebtedness to the IMF for Ukrainian indebtedness to Western banks. The IMF will hand over the money to the Western banks, and the Western banks will reduce Ukraine's indebtedness by the amount of IMF money. Instead of being indebted to the banks, Ukraine will now be indebted to the IMF.9
Occupy Ukraine. For the banks.

Jack Rasmus did a detailed analysis of the IMF's Ukraine package, and found maybe a few dollars left in the county, but basically confirmed that IMF money won't go to Ukraine, but to Western banks:

As in typical IMF deals, most of that $27 billion would go to cover payments to western bankers first, to ensure they're protected and covered. Little would be left to stimulate the Ukrainian economy or to relieve the average Ukrainian household. Moreover, the 'terms' of the IMF deal (as any IMF deal has shown) would prove disastrous to the real economy.10
It sure will. As AFP notes, approvingly, it would: "impose tough economic conditions that will alter the lives of Ukrainians who have grown accustomed to the comforts of Soviet-era subsidies and social welfare benefits. [and] … herald a fundamental shift in Kyiv … to a commitment to the types of free-market efficiencies that could one day bring Ukraine far closer to the West."11 Happy day, when Ukrainians will experience the "efficiencies" we in the West have come to know so well. To cite Rasmus again: "The Ukraine in an IMF bailout would almost certainly replicate the still continuing Austerity crisis in Greece." A 50-100% gas price hike is already in place.12

Gotta love that many American liberals, so quick to denounce the latest Paul Ryan budget, have been blithely supporting a far worse "Republican" program for Ukraine.

Really, the IMF demands are staggering, and include: Ukraine must raise the retirement age, raise gas and electricity prices, cap the minimum wage, reduce unemployment benefits, cancel support for childbirth, free meals and textbooks, privatize all mines, and lift the moratorium on sale of agricultural land. It's a neat program-if your goal is to impoverish Ukrainians and sell off Ukrainian steel industry to the Germans, Ukrainian oil resources to Chevron, and the famous Ukrainian "black soil" farmland to Cargill and Monsanto. Cargill and Monsanto are chomping at the bit.13

Of course, all of this is the culmination, the final push into irreversibility, of a process of capitalist imperialism/invasion that's been going on for twenty years-with, to be sure, some reluctance on the part of the political machines of the oligarchs, who have been fearful of popular pushback.

In other words, "European" Ukraine would be the IMF's Ukraine [writes the author politely, eschewing the word for female dog]-a poor cousin within the shriveling neo-liberal austerity Europe of today, not at all the prosperous brother within the social-democratic European thing of remembered past. Crumbs of the madeleine are all that's left of that.

Oh, yeah, the IMF agreement also "stipulates that Ukraine cannot accept any financial support from Russia."14 That would be the Russia whose financial support, according to the head of the IMF, has been a "lifeline" that's helped Ukraine avert disaster: "Without the support that they were getting from this lifeline that Russia had extended a few months ago, they were heading nowhere."15

As Stephen Cohen points out:

[I]t was the European Union, backed by Washington, that said in November to the democratically elected president of a profoundly divided country, Ukraine, "You must choose between Europe and Russia." That was an ultimatum to Yanukovych. Remember-wasn't reported here-at that moment, what did the much-despised Putin say? He said, "Why? Why does Ukraine have to choose? We are prepared to help Ukraine avoid economic collapse, along with you, the West. Let's make it a tripartite package to Ukraine." And it was rejected in Washington and in Brussels. That precipitated the protests in the streets.16
Russia did not start this fight. It was not Russia that drove an already "profoundly divided" Ukraine into a "my way or the highway" choice; it was "Europe"-a word in this context that should be understood as signifying the presently conjoined projects of the EU/IMF/Western-capital and NATO.

Ultimately, the fact is that Yanukovych balked at the EU/IMF deal because it was too costly for Ukraine. Russia simply made a better offer: "[O]ne reason Yanukovich chose the Russian $15 billion offer over Europe's lesser offer is that the EU deal was less and with more IMF austerity strings attached. Moreover, the possibility of energy relief from the Russian Federation may have appeared a better deal than the EU's energy deprived, high energy cost, economic partnership."17

Americans, along with Ukrainian Europhiles, might carry assumptions that make this difficult to imagine, but the fact is that Yanukovych went into the negotiations "a fierce advocate of integration with the EU," and came to recognize that economic ties to Russia were more beneficial to Ukraine than ties to EU/neo-liberalism were going to be.

Fact is, too, that the Ukrainian oligarchs, and their present Ukrainian government, know this. They know their job is to be the compliant agents of the IMF, delivering their country into a socially disastrous austerity that is going to mean less popular democracy and less national independence. This is why the new prime minister, the man who is described in Forbes as "setting Ukraine up for ruin," says: "I'm going to be the most unpopular prime minister in the history of my country."18

Please notice that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, about democracy in all this. More democracy? Please, the EU/IMF program will have to be imposed on the Ukrainian people-with, likely, some electoral process that's engineered to ignore their interests and subvert their will. And the oligarchs-as well as American leaders, who are masters of such a process-know this.

So, whoever came out to the maidan thinking that fighting for the EU/IMF deal was fighting for more democracy and independence…well, as Rasmus puts it, kindly: "It appears many Ukrainians do not yet understand the fundamental economic and political dynamics at play in the Ukraine."19

It's an unfortunate misrecognition that many Ukrainians (perhaps especially self-identified "liberal" Ukrainians, goaded by $5 billion of American NGO miseducation), lost sight of the main contradiction-that between the social program of the Ukrainian oligarchs and the social needs of the Ukrainian people-in favor of a confected conflict between an imaginary utopian Europe and an imaginary dystopian Russia. It's a miscrecognition that only serves to further the real, shared, anti-populist agenda of the oligarchs and "Europe" (that conjoint project described above), and to hide the tensions within "Europe" between the EU and NATO.

Crooks and Fascists

The other element within Ukraine that complicates the main contradiction between Ukrainian oligarchs and society is the presence of combative ultra-nationalist/neo-fascist factions that have fought their way into the center of power (and are tolerated by the democratic US and Europe in a way that no similarly radical left factions would be).

I've analyzed these forces in detail in my previous Ukraine post. Liberal and conservative American media want to keep pretending that these groups, who were the fighting vanguard of the insurrection, are a) not really fascists, and b) even if they are, they "don't really matter."

Bull. The truth is: a) These groups, Joseph Goebbels Research Center and all, follow proudly in the tradition of their mythologized nationalist heroes who fought with the Nazis in WWII. They're the people, in other words, who are sorry the Soviet Union defeated Nazi Germany. That's not fascism? And, b) However often American pundits insist these fascists don't matter, the fascists themselves are going to keep insisting that they do. And, occupying key positions in the new Ukrainian government and security services, yes, they do. Furthermore, as we'll discuss below, the Eastern uprising is enhancing their role. A column in Foreign Policy puts it quite succinctly: "The uncomfortable truth is that a sizeable portion of Kiev's current government -- and the protesters who brought it to power -- are, indeed, fascists."20

The one thing every Ukrainian was enraged about was the corruption of the crooked oligarchs. Unfortunately, the maidan coup replaced a government of crooks with a government of crooks and fascists.

This ultranationalist right, represented in parliament by the Svoboda party and on the street by Right Sector (Pravy Sektor), is focused on restoring Ukrainian ethnic and national identity. Emmanuel Dreyfus points out that both groups want to defend "the values of white, Christian Europe against the loss of the nation and deregionalisation," and reject multiculturalism, as "responsible for the disappearance of the crucifix and the arrival of girls in burqas in your schools." Both want to promote Ukrainian national identity "through measures ranging from systematic glorification of the nationalist movement to reintroducing the mentions of religious affiliation and ethnicity on identity documents." Both want de-Russification and "de-Sovietisation," which means "purging or sidelining former SNPU cadres and KGB agents, changing street and place names, removing monuments to heroes of the Soviet Union."21

Of some relevance to Russia's reaction to the Kiev insurrection, for anyone who might want to consider such things, Svoboda, which has bullied its way into dominance in parliament, called specifically for "abolishing Crimea's autonomous status," and for "join[ing] NATO, rearm[ing] with nuclear weapons and leav[ing] all post-Soviet cooperative organisations."

Regarding the EU, Right Sector wants to maintain a distance from the EU, which it describes as a "homodictatorship," a "liberal totalitarianism in which God has vanished and values are turned upside down." Svoboda does not disagree with that characterization of Europe, but is now willing to accept Ukraine joining the EU. This, because it sees EU membership as a bulwark against Russian influence, and because it sees accepting the EU as an opportunistic electoral tactic.

Ultimately, the European integration these ultra-nationalist groups seek is not on the terms of the Europhile Kiev NGO liberals, or of the offshore banked-up oligarchs. Svoboda and Right Sector seek alliances within, and want very much to be part of, an insurgent pan-European far-right. For them the Ukrainian uprising was a key moment in The Great European Reconquista.

As Michael Moynihan pointed out, "the ecosystem of ultra-nationalist websites seem heavily focused on supporting Svoboda's bid for political power in post-Yanukovych Ukraine," and Svoboda was praised on the website of the British National Party, which celebrated that "a group of our Polish comrades from the [neo-Nazi] Falange organization visited Ukraine" to support Svoboda and the revolution.

The Swedish neo-Nazi, Fredrik Hagberg, also paid a visit to Kiev City Hall, to congratulate the insurrectionists, and proclaim: "You now have the opportunity to choose and create your own future. Do not accept the trap of choosing either the West or Russia."22

The Ukrainian far-right is also not as fooled as the liberals about what to expect from the EU-oligarch elite social program, perhaps because they are learning from their right-populist comrades in Western Europe, who are quite aware of the continent's real condition. Thus Svoboda, "'probably on the advice of [France's] Front National', according to Andreas Umland, has also drawn up an economic programme with a social dimension. This would renationalise a number of enterprises, introduce progressive taxation on business profits, and seek to reduce the dominance of the oligarchs over the political and economic systems."23 (Dreyfus)

Neo-fascism, meet paleo-fascism. It's not as if neo-fascists are really going to demolish capitalism, let alone empower the people, but, history knows, they can be adept at playing the populist game, and at filling in the "national-socialist" gaps of an absent actually-socialist left. Liberal neo-liberal oligarchs-i.e., plutocrats, i.e., campaign contributors-in Europe and America, who think they can get away forever with people-crushing socio-economic policies overlaid by sweet-sounding, substance-free, identity politics and "democracy" talk, might take notice of the terrible beauty they are (re-)birthing.

So the anti-Yanukovych insurrectionary movement combined a relatively self-aware, elite EU-oligarch agenda with a relatively self-aware, populist neo-fascist agenda, spiced up with a dash of self-deluded NGO liberalism that allowed Western media and liberals, along with many Ukrainians, to swallow the concoction whole.

Many western Ukrainians, that is. Eastern Ukrainians have spit that shit out. More on that later.

On Again, Off Again

It's worth remarking here that the US was, to some extent, trapped by the excess effects of its own policy. After all, the US probably would have got what it wanted if it had enforced the agreement of February 21, a complete capitulation to the maidan, which was brokered by the Vice President himself, with his cooperative European partners. Since the agreement moved the elections up to May, and presuming Yanukovych was as thoroughly unpopular as he seemed, an IMF-friendly government would have been in place very soon. (Even though Russia was not a party to that agreement, it was willing to abide by it. Russia was not trying to save Yanukovych, who was not "their" man.) The US, however, could not resist going along with the now-popular neo-fascist forces it had set in motion. Though they were no longer under any threat and had already won their political goals, these militants forced an immediate overthrow of the government, and began to institute their "de-Russification" program by outlawing the Russian language (later rescinded) and attacking and purging members of political parties they didn't like (Communists and Party of the Regions).

I think, too, that the US and its favorite oligarchs would have preferred to dispense with, or at least marginalize, Right Sector and other the neo-fascist forces. These forces were indispensable in overthrowing Yanukovych, but their persistent presence could seriously undermine the legitimacy of the new "European" regime-especially among, you know, Europeans. Western Europeans, particularly Germans, are not comfortable with these guys. European media notices and talks about them, and even the American media cannot hide them forever.24

Thus, there have been some moves, surely encouraged by the Americans, to dress the regime up in more palatable center-right colors. There may be an attempt to peel Svoboda away from Right Sector, with the former becoming a more respectable parliamentary presence, and the latter, the militant street fighters, left behind. So Svoboda mellows its "Joseph Goebbels Research Center" and "anti-Muscovite Jew" rhetoric while playing kissy-face with the Israeli ambassador on the basis of their shared "nationalism."24

Particularly portentous in this regard was the killing in March of Oleksandr Muzychko, aka Sashko Bilyi, one of Right Sector's most notorious and pugnacious militants. Muzychko is the star of this viral video, in which he roughs up a local prosecutor and shows him who's the boss now, and this one, where he tells the crowd: "I am calling on the people to arm themselves. Only those who have a Kalashnikov will be respected. I'm calling all to take up arms!," and this one, where he lectures to a regional parliament, brandishing his AK-47: "The Right Sector was armed and will be armed till the time when it will be necessary… You did not give us this weapon and you will not take it away. Who wants to take away my machine gun, my pistol, my knives? Let them try!"

Sashko Bilyi knew: The first counter-revolutionary act of every government is to collect the guns.26

Muzychko was killed on March 25th, in a raid on the Three Carp Café in Barmaky by members of the Sokil (Falcon), the interior ministry's special task force. Some witnesses say he was pulled from his car, handcuffed, and then shot in the heart twice. The interior ministry, after saying he was killed in a shootout when police returned fire, settled on a suicide story, that "he had shot himself in the heart [twice?] as police tried to bring him to the ground after a chase."27 (Here's a link to what purports to be the killing of Muzychko captured on surveillance video. As you might expect, it's difficult to make out exactly what is happening in it.)

Right Sector had no doubt about what happened. Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh, himself now Deputy Chief of the National Defense and Security Council and a declared presidential candidate, called it "Our brother-in-arms Oleksandr Muzychko's murder," carried out by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov as part of the "counterrevolutionary pressure on maidan and Right Sector as the vanguard of our revolution." Yarosh announced: "We cannot silently accept the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's active counterrevolutionary activities. In this connection, we demand Interior Minister Arsen Avakov's immediate dismissal, and we demand the arrest of the Sokil special task force commander and all those guilty of [Muzychko's] murder."

As Andrew Higgins points out in the New York Times: Muzychko's militancy "struck a chord with some ordinary Ukrainians, who wonder when Ukraine's revolution will bring tangible benefits." Right Sector and other neo-fascists stormed the parliament vowing to "take revenge on Avakov for the death of our brother," calling for Avakov's resignation and the arrest of all agents involved in the killing of Muzychko, and for a "second maidan." As the Times put it, a lot of Ukrainians saw his killing as a "'pre-ordered hit' orchestrated by establishment forces," who wanted to silence an uncompromising rebel who wanted to oust not only Mr. Yanukovych, but an entire class of politicians and civil servants he viewed as irredeemably corrupt." Higgins quotes one "veteran Ukrainian nationalist": "This is an unfinished revolution and he [Muzychko] wanted to carry it through to its logical conclusion."28

Avakov, for his part, held firm. His interior ministry and the SBU (Ukraine's domestic intelligence agency) had previously demanded that all maidan activists hand in illegal weapons, and he now called armed militants "bandits," suggested banning Right Sector, and ordered arrests of many of their militants.

As Interior Minister Avakov is a member of the Fatherland Party, controlled by America's sweetheart, Yulia Tymoshenko, this looked like the beginning of the turf war in which Western-approved, well-coiffed, oligarchs of the respectable right would attempt to show their wolfsangel-wearing comrades who's really the boss. Was prying Sashko Bilyi's Kalishnikov from his cold, dead hands a message from Yulia, via Avakov, to Dmytro and his Right Sector: What happened in the maidan stays in the maidan. Time for a conscious uncoupling. If so, Dmytro's response, via his street posse, was sharp: We're still in the maidan. "Until the end."29

Did this mark the beginning of the end of the mutually-instrumental marriage during the winter games in the maidan between the western-backed oligarchic elite, whose only real goal was the EU/IMF program, and the populist neo-fascist movements, who are focused on a program of purified ethnic Ukrainian nationalism, but are quite willing to take up the fight against corruption, privilege, and social penury that is the real concern of most people? An end to this dramatic alliance, which itself diverted attention from the fundamental contradictions that affect the social future of the country?

I thought it was. I thought we were in for a hell of a fight. I also had a pretty good idea of who would win it: As Sashko Bilyi learned, and as his death was meant to teach others, guys who strut around in camo waving their rifles usually don't stand a chance against gentlemen and women in bespoke suits, who command whole armies, and the banks that pay them. Usually, suits beat camo.

Usually. In this case, however, the neo-fascists have gained a lot of credibility and traction. Svoboda and Right Sector might be hard to break up. Both factions share the same mass constituency, based in the same stridently right-wing nationalist mythology that has been promoted by oligarchic governments themselves for twenty years. Most importantly, the populist neo-fascists have "struck a chord with some ordinary Ukrainians" who see that they share the deep suspicion that the corrupt oligarchs and international elite are only out to continue screwing the country. I wish the Ukrainian socialist left had a serious presence, but right now, who else do "ordinary Ukranians" see who might complete what they know to be an "unfinished revolution"?

So it looked like the oligarchs and their Euro-American sponsors would have to go to the mattresses, and do a whole lot of nasty wet work, mobilizing all the reinvigorated agents of state-sanctioned violence, Three-Carp style. Easy enough to portray it as a righteous campaign against fascists-who were now to be noticed and rejected-in a way that would, again, win the quick assent of Western liberals and the Western media. Of course, it would also be a diversion-another cover for the less telespectacular, but real and incessant, anti-populist and anti-democratic campaign to entrench the strict authoritarianism of the neo-liberal state, without the embarrassing wolfsangel. It's the kind of thing we've seen, for example, in "anti-Islamist" campaigns in Arab countries.

It seems now, however, that the oligarch-fascist divorce is on hold. Call it a trial reconciliation, until the east is retaken. Since eastern Ukrainians are as willing and capable of occupying buildings, arming themselves, and resisting the armed forces of the state as their western compatriots, and, since the regular army-which the elected Yanukovych government was not, but the unelected new government is, wiling to send against its own people-seems to be reluctant to fire on those people, it's necessary to call on the hard cases. Time for the suits to call on the camos.

So Right Sector has moved 150 or so militants into Slavyansk, which looks like it's becoming the central point of contention in the east. Right Sector has also moved its main headquarters to the eastern city of Dnepropetrovsk, in order to "closely monitor" developments. There, they've organized a new paramilitary squadron of 800 fighters. This will link up, presumably, with the new "special battalion" of "local patriots" formed by Igor Kolomoysky, the oligarch appointed as governor of the region by the new Kiev regime. These are part of a new structure of fighting forces outside of the regular army that include a 60,000-man National Guard "recruited from 'activists' in the anti-Russian protests and from military academies," under the control of Svoboda leader, Andriy Parubiy.

Right Sector leader Yarosh says: "We coordinate all of our actions with the leadership of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Security service of Ukraine." Interior minister Avakov is on board, speaking of groups like this as comprising: "The new structure of special divisions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs…the answer to saboteurs, 'green little men' and to the other gangs tasked with attacking statehood and integrity of Ukraine."

So the oligarchs and the neo-fascists are forming a common fighting strategy for eastern Ukraine. They even have a social program! Oligarch-governor Kolomoysky's deputy, after "thinking a lot about events in Donetsk and Lugansk," has called for "a revolution of the poor, the rebellion of tired and desperate people, unheard by the government"-by which he means paying off the "poor" rebels who turn in their weapons ($1000 for a Kalashnikov) or evacuate government buildings ($200,000). The capitalist dream: the "revolution" will be cashed in.30

[May 16, 2014] Ukraine stands on the brink – and Europe must bring it back by Timothy Garton Ash

Blast from the past: Please re-read the first three comments to Feb 2 Guardian article. Mow in May that sound as fresh as they were in February before the putch.
02 February 2014 | The Guardian | Jump to comments (506)

Some very nasty far-right groups have mounted the barricades.

...But comrade Lenin's question remains: what is to be done? The Poles, with members of the Ukrainian opposition, call for a larger carrot. "Not martial law but a Marshall Plan," says opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk. In your dreams, Arseniy. Others call for targeted western sanctions against the Yanukovych clan and selected oligarchs.

I suspect all this will make only a marginal difference. History is being written hour by hour on the ground in Ukraine. But if the British prime minister does want to reconnect with the idealism of his youth, while practising the realpolitik required in his current job, I suggest he has a private word with those key swing-players in Ukraine, the oligarchs. Men like Victor Pinchuk, Dmytro Firtash (a generous donor to Cambridge University) and Akhmetov. We know where they live – in London, among other places. So to have that discreet fireside chat, the prime minister would only need to pop down the road, from Downing Street to One Hyde Park.

OpinionatedFrog

02 February 2014 8:19pm

1 country with a tragic history - 2 groups of similar size with totally different outlooks and interests, both with powerful backers and manpower willing to fight. I am not optimistic and I would love to be wrong

Julian1972 -> OpinionatedFrog

02 February 2014 8:59pm

It's the work of the CIA and we need to start putting folks on trial over here before they bring us all finally to the brink.

Glimmer -> OpinionatedFrog

02 February 2014 9:38pm

"but still the kind of state that, in the long run, forges a nation." - i.e Ukraine is a state without a nation. There is violence implicit in the verb "forge", too. A Marshall plan for the ex-USSR back in the 90's might have prevented the rise of Putinarchy but the West was too smugly vindictive and cheap to attempt anything so decent.

... ... ...

HillaryRClinton

It is very simple: all the EU has to do is offer a fair trade deal and the cash needed to implement the necessary reforms, overcome Ukraine's loss of trade with Russia (since the EU says Ukraine must choose between the EU and Russia instead of allowing it to trade with both sides, as Yanukovich and Putin proposed), and other countries that buy substandard Ukrainian goods, and replace the energy subsidy Ukraine receives from Russia. According to Yanukovych, all this requires $20 billion per year.

The problem is that the EU is unwilling or unable to provide the cash. Instead it accuses Yanukovych of making extortionist demands. Meanwhile, Putin offered $ 15 billion immediately while the EU referred Ukraine to the IMF (which is demanding Greece-style austerity, raising the pension age, removal of energy subsidies, privatization, and all the usual discredited IMF demands).

In addition, the EU will have to offer Ukraine membership prospects, i.e. guarantee that Ukraine will be able to join the EU at a time in the future. For 3-4 years, the Yanukovych government demanded that this guarantee be included in the Association Agreement, but the EU refused.

The Ukrainians are also seeking visa liberalization, i.e. ability to travel freely to the EU, but the EU has linked this to many reforms, including gay rights, etc

physiocrat

02 February 2014 8:38pm

Why should we assume that we know what is best for the Ukrainians? On the face of things, it looks as if the first thing that needs to happen is to re-draw the boundaries so that the Russian speaking Orthodox population are not in the same country as the Ukrainian speaking Byzantine rite and Latin rite Catholics. This does not preclude enclaves of one inside the other. The Swiss model should be one to follow.

For geographical reasons the Ukrainian economy is inevitably tied to that of Russia and this must be recognised. The two countries have more common interests with each other than they do with the EU lands. The EU should stop meddling.

Rialbynot -> physiocrat

02 February 2014 10:46pm

And it's quite disturbing, if not sinister, how the EU meddlers are doing their meddling without a democratic mandate.

Has there been a democratic debate within the EU as to "our" policy towards Ukraine? No.
It seems policy is being driven by the usual power-hungry gang in Brussels with the occasional nod coming from Berlin.

And all TGA can advise is that the British PM should have "a private word with those key swing-players in Ukraine, the oligarchs."

Democracy in the making? I don't think so.

I would suggest replacing the brain of anyone who thinks that the oligarchs of any Eastern European country have an interest in establishing properly functioning democracies in their fiefdoms.

[May 16, 2014] Russia halts rocket exports to US, hitting space and military programmes

The Guardian

The Russian RD-180 engine has been in production since 1999. The US has imported more than forty of them to power its Atlas V rockets into space.

Designed to be expendable, the RD-180s are not recovered and refurbished after use, so a constant supply is needed to keep up with the US launch manifest.

Although Nasa relies on the Atlas V to launch some of its deep space probes, such as the Curiosity rover currently operating on Mars, most are used to put AmericanUS spy satellites and other classified payloads into space.

Under the new restrictions, it is only rockets for military rather than civilian launches that would be disallowed. But in practice it will make it difficult for the US to import any of the engines because it will hard to prove the hardware is not destined for a military programme.

Nobul

15 May 2014 7:35pm

When did the American political leadership became so provincial?

Beckow

15 May 2014 7:17pm

A classical lose-lose pissing contest. In that way - and I hope the only way - it is similar to 1914. All sides can hurt each other. And none is in a strong economic position to start with.

Russia is signaling that it will retaliate. Putin is going to China next week. If the gas deal with China gets signed, the EU energy future will be a lot more expensive. There really are no inexpensive energy alternatives to Russian oil and gas. So it would be like a 2% tax on all EU industry.

Since not exporting to Russia (German cars, machinery, etc...) or limiting raw material imports is self-defeating, the best weapon US has would be financial boycott: blocking transactions, bank transfers, etc....

The problem is that is a one-time tool. As soon as US-EU do it, Russia would embark on separating its finances from the dollar economy. Painful, but doable for the 6th largest world economy with things to sell.

Financial sanctions would hurt US in two ways:

So let's see how low can Washington take this. Will they just cut off their nose to spite their face, or are they going all the way? Given that geniuses like Nuland, Kerry and Hague are involved, I would not count on a rational outcome.

Denny O'Connor

15 May 2014 7:18pm

The idiots sounding off on here how the US shot itself in the foot, and Vlad has us by the left cajone over space launches, yadda, yadda, are tiresome and boringly predictable.

When the administration asked the Pentagon what would be the likely issues of a trade sanctions with Russia (well before it was announced) you can bet they sent over a white paper inches thick that covered all the issues - such as rocket engines, and other things you have not thought of nor even heard about.

But to jump back to launches - Delta IV is the most powerful launch platform anywhere and not dependent on Russia (and Vlad would give his right one to have it) . The only issue stopping manned launches is the Delta IV is not currently man rated. That can be cured by a signed order from the Commander In Chief within seconds.

So, yes we do not have manned launch capability right now - unless the President chooses to have it.

dr. o

hfakosDenny -> O'Connor

15 May 2014 7:25pm

And what capsule would the Delta IV launch? The US capsule is not ready yet and won't be for a few years. In addition, it's a waste of money to launch smaller satellites on the Delta IV. There is a reason why space agencies maintain a range of rockets for different payload masses.

hfakosTom -> J. Davis

15 May 2014 11:23pm

Good, so stop using the Soyuz for two years sonny. Nobody doubts NASA's general ability. But it's a fact that right now the Russians could cause severe trouble for the Europeans and the yankees. They could separate their section of the ISS and let the rest drift unmanned and aimlessly. They could also pull out of the Exomars mission and screw ESA.

It's an interconnected world and Europe is stupid to allow the Americans to drive a wedge between us and the Russians.

errovi -> Proudlatin

15 May 2014 6:28pm

Clearly demonstrated now is that "American Exceptionalism" is a delusion the democrats share with the neocons.

The Dems are following the script of ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI's "The Grand Chessboard, American Primacy & Its Geostrategic Imperatives (1997)".

Disgusting is how Hillary Clinton (you know the hypocrite of that Reset Button with Russia) now fully in line with this "American Primacy" promotes TTIP as the "economic NATO" actually trying to form a economic-military US/EU power block.

HansZandvliet

15 May 2014 6:11pm

Look, that's just what the anemically recovering US and EU economies need: a tit for tat trade war with Russia.
If the US and the EU continue their geopolitical power game over the Ukraine into next winter, Russia will (be able to) hit back in a devastating fashion by turning of the oil and gas supply to Europe. It would be far worse than the oil shocks of 1973 and 1979.

The_BrainHansZandvliet

15 May 2014 6:39pm

To be fair America has very little trade with Russia and its growth rate has been about 2% these past two years. That is not a great number but it is not really "anmeic."

imjustasking

15 May 2014 6:23pm

well, here we go. Russia held off on this for a long while, but its starting to get more and more stupid. Ukrainian forces are slaughtering civilians, and west sanctions Russia ... The theater of absurd. Now Russia dishes out some response, and there will be a choir of condemnation.


carolusmagnus

15 May 2014 6:27pm

I wonder if Ambassador Nuland had any thoughts of US dependence on Russian rocket engines, Exxon-Mobil and BP integration with Rosneft for Russian oil and gas or Boeing buying Russian titanium components The left hand has no idea of the right hand. Blundering incompetence at the highest levels of government.

Still it does go to show that integration by trade restricts war-making.... that is, if US government knew they were trading partners with Russia.

baltazarcarolusmagnus

15 May 2014 6:35pm

No, she had none. Ms. Nuland prefers to entertain herself with four--letter words on open mikes, so that the world knows her IQ capacities.
Dependence on the Russian rocket engines? No. that's beyond her grasp..

errovicarolusmagnus

15 May 2014 6:35pm

Ukraine is thrown under the bus. The US and some of the EU are actually baiting Russia to react in order to use the fear induced by that reaction. Condi Rice used that very same script when she allowed US trained, armed and sponsored for NATO membership Georgia to attack South Ossetia. Subsequently Condi exploited that reaction by comparing it to Prague 1968 to get Poland to sign up to that ABM missile Defense. So Georgia was a gambit for that missile defense.

2009 analysis predicting the Ukraine mess: www.clingendael.nl/publication/geopolitics-ttip

Ukraine is a gambit to form an economic-military US/EU power block based on a revived NATO and TTIP = an economic NATO according to Brzezinky inspired Hillary Clinton.
www.clingendael.nl/publication/geopolitics-ttip
See PDF within that link.

carolusmagnus -> errovi

15 May 2014 7:21pm

I agree that the US is determined to avoid the strategic event of German industry integrating (willingly) with Russian resources. That really would be the end of Empire.

For the Neocons, it is better to more surely integrate US and EU economies along with chaos in Ukraine, isolate Russia with its ten time zones of resources - and...

Oops! To drive the Russians and Chinese together in EurAisa while the Germans continue to trade with both.

Can Neocons see beyond their noses? No. This is not in their script.

greenveldt -> carolusmagnus

16 May 2014 5:24am

Do you believe the Ukraine crisis is bringing Germany closer to Russia or moving them farther apart?

Because if the crisis is being generated by the West, with Merkel sending her foreign minister to meet Klitschko personally at the height of the Maidan uprising/putsch/whatever then it seems clear that Germany would have helped orchestrate something that is halting that integration.

I don't mean to attack you personally, but what you wrote makes absolutely no sense. No disrespect to you intended, but please.

Ozma46errovi

15 May 2014 10:38pm

Ukraine is thrown under the bus. The US and some of the EU are actually baiting Russia to react in order to use the fear induced by that reaction. Condi Rice used that very same script..."

Yeah, but Ukraine has gone waaay off script, consider; failing nuclear plants, power mad natzis, oligarchs with private armies, a planned adversary that refuses to fight, all adult males have a minimum of two years military experience, an established mafia, mass defections by the military, citizen blockades in half the country, no one has control and the only country that could sort this out has no intention of playing the US game. Th' stupid, it burnssss.

midnightschild10

15 May 2014 6:36pm

Evidently the Obama/Cheyney neo-cons thought Russia would just lay down and accept the US and EU's puppet government as well say "sorry." Now it's Russia's turn. Not only the space station is involved, but Russia has also told the EU it will stop the flow of oil and gas if Ukraine does not pay its bill. I am sure the US may jump in to save the day.

So far the US has spent 5 billion according to the Queen of Ukraine, Victoria Nuland. It has also promised an additional 15 more plus 1 billion in secured loans. This is happening while our veterans are dying because of lack of health care, and funding for women and children in poverty has been cut by 8 billion.

This is the new priority of the US government, buy another country. We'll take care of others rather than work on our own problems. If it only takes protesters and the Parliament to oust a President or Premiere, I wonder how Merkle and the others in the EU will be feeling when their people have no heat next winter.

They say what goes around, comes around. And the people of Europe can blame not only their weak leaders, but also the Obama Administration if he is still there. After all, he's made it obvious that he couldn't care less about people voting, so it can be handled by the US Congress. In Winston Churchill's words, the US is leading the EU "from crisis to crisis, enthusiastically."

Aiktor

15 May 2014 7:03pm

I remember reading somewhere that in the Soviet era, their rocket engines were made in Ukraine. Alternative supplier?

hfakos -> Aiktor

The RD-180 is made in Moscow by Energomash. KB Yuzhnoe makes the "Ukrainian" Zenith rocket, 70% of which is sourced from Russia, including its first stage engine. Ukraine's space industry does not make powerful first stage engines and the Russians made sure that all important production is done in Russia now. Ukraine's space industry can only survive as part of Russia's space program. The EU/USA/NATO has no need for it, and the Russians might just pull the plug on it.

VladimirVicthfakos

15 May 2014 7:44pm

Your pessimism is quite reasonable..

A branch of ukrainian economy is going to disappear, many skilled workers lose their jobs, many people died in Eastern regions, about 50 burnt away in Odessa but what for?

To permit rural nationalists to illegally role the country a bit just for fun?


HamBiscuit

15 May 2014 7:05pm

Time for a grain of salt while reading any post which mentions Russia:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/04/pro-russia-trolls-ukraine-guardian-online

znaika -> HamBiscuit

Ha! It is a pity I missed this article back then. Well sometimes we can discuss some events only in theory or basing on our experience. But this is not the case. First I am glad that Luke Hurding is getting this feedback he deserves. Second I am wondering where I could get my Kremlinbot pay check. I was stupid enough to be here for free. No more! And third I am afraid the western media are drifting into the phantasy land of their own.

Drahdiwaberl -> HamBiscuit

No, time to ask why the Guardian Readers' Editor throws his toys out of the pram when he is deluged by international outrage at the Guardian's coverage of the Ukraine, and tries to blame it all on the dreaded Kremlinbots.

Clue: just because someone is angry and writes in bad English it doesn't mean they are paid by the Kremlin. It might mean they know what they are talking about.

[May 16, 2014] I love the BBC!

May 16, 2014 | The Vineyard of the Saker
I really love the BBC. Love to hate it, that is. They just posted an article about the fact that Russia will now demand pre-payment for the gas it will sell the Ukraine which concluded with this great sentence:
There is a danger for EU nations that Ukraine will start taking the gas Russia had earmarked for its European clients, something it did when it was cut off from Russian gas during previous disputes in 2006 and 2009.
Wouldn't they make Psaki proud? Instead of writing that the Ukraine will start robbing, hijacking, siphoning-off, stealing, diverting, embezzling, plundering, looting or misappropriating the gas Russia is selling to the EU, they wrote "taking".

As if the energy market was some kind of all-u-can eat buffet where each guest is invited to help himself to whatever he wants.

There is a gang of Nazi thugs in Kiev who came to power by an illegal armed insurrection, they are massacring civilians using what counts for a military in their pathetic Banderastan, and this gang of thugs and freaks is about to rob the EU from gas the EU has paid top-Euros for, and the BBC calls it "taking".

I really love to hate them.

Rincewind :

Well, BBC showed unbelievable restraint then.

Slovak SME has a headline "Putin hrozí od júna zastavením dodávok plynu pre Európu" (Putin threats to stop delivering gas for Europe by June). Nowhere in text is, that it is because Ukraine could steal it. No, just Putin threatens.


Subtititle is "Ukraina chce platiť" (Ukraine wants to pay). It is basically good, good Ukraine wants to be everything OK, but bad, bad Russia is causing trouble.

It is really nauseating, what some media are able to produce. The Rudé právo (Czechoslovak equivalent to russian Pravda during communism) is nothing, compared to today's media.

Anonymous:

sorry, off-topic, but I think the resurgence of neo-Nazism is not just a Ukrainian localized affair. These supremacist state actors and their supporters are now taking root in India, where the neo-fascist Modi has massively won the elections. The Wahabbists (also a fascist supremacist ideology effectively stalled because of Iran and Russia, but they are not at all to be underestimated.

We have Ukraine, Wahabbists in Syria, and BJBists in India - these are critical areas of the planet. And, given the state of affairs, I find it difficult to share your assessment that the empire is in decline. The western zio-imperialists have plenty of cesspools to feed from.

Ben:

The BBC has been forced down the typical neoliberal drain of greed and plundering as so many things in live before. Everything society has built up as commonly owned infrastructure accessible for and to all at moderate prices. Water, Electricity, Transport, Education, Kindergardens, Parcs, Food health Standards, Medication, Hospitals, Doctors, Public Places free of the need to generate Profits and so much more...

It is a time of greed, a kind of greed that leaves everybody without a healthy sense of what is good... it is dance around the golden calf with countless victims along its way already. It is not something i want and i am sure that i am not alone.

Anonymous:

Hmmm, I have an idea. Russia could build a gas pipeline through the south bypassing Ukraine and going to customers such as Austria, Italy, Bulgaria and Hungary. That way, any conflict with Ukraine would not affect European supplies.

Oh wait, Russia is doing that and it is called South Stream.

Wait,what! Brussels does not want it built but wants central and south European to have its gas supplies to be reliant on the vagaries of Ukrainian politics.
Oh wait, those same countries are now telling Brussels like hell they will stop that project and what they can do with the horse that they rode on in.

[May 15, 2014] Break Ukraine in Two by Jay Hallen, Contributor

Blast from the past (the article was written in February: "he Ukrainian interim government should negotiate exact borders – perhaps, say, Crimea and the three other oblasts that lead up to the city of Donetsk – with the goal of retaining the maximum population whose electoral balance tips unquestionably to Europe and NATO-friendly political parties. It is better to have a smaller Ukraine that is a united and confident member of Europe, than the current Ukraine that is an unstable political football between old Cold War foes. "
Mar 5, 2014 | Forbes

The American victory in the Cold War was the high watermark for idealist foreign policy – namely, that with the right mix of patience, threats, diplomacy, and espionage, the forces of democracy and freedom could ultimately triumph over dictatorship. The Ukraine crisis represents the most significant outbreak of Cold War-era tension since 1991. Perhaps that explains National Security Advisor Susan Rice's idealist declaration to Meet the Press that "It's not in the interest of Ukraine, or of Russia, or of Europe, or of the United States, to see [Ukraine] split." Unfortunately, she is wrong on all accounts. Dealing with a realist opponent requires a realist solution, and make no mistake – Russia holds all of the leverage. That is why breaking Ukraine in two is the best means of peacefully reconciling the current crisis, while providing an acceptable strategic compromise for all key powers with a stake in the outcome. Splitting Ukraine on a mutually agreed border that starts with the Crimean peninsula, can allow Russia to annex the breakaway portions if it so chooses. Four arguments drive this approach:

Territorial integrity is not a sound concept in Ukraine. Ukraine's current borders are ill-conceived. They were established by Bolsheviks set on eliminating regional, ethnic, and religious affiliations, in favor of a totalitarian USSR. Modern Ukraine includes two western regions that were originally part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and were annexed during and after World War II: Galicia, which also spent several decades within Poland, as well as Ruthenia, transferred via Czechoslovakia. These ethnic Ukrainian lands identify with Central Europe, and reacted with a nationalist insurgency against Soviet rule through the 1950s. Meanwhile, East Ukraine has Russian origins, as does the current flashpoint of Crimea, which was gifted from Russia by Khruschev as a token of the 300th anniversary of Ukraine's association with the Russian Empire.

Since the Orange Revolution in 2004, there has been a strong undercurrent of discord between West and East Ukraine, whose pro-Western and pro-Russian inclinations tend to fall across geographic lines. Ukrainian politics in the last ten years have been marked by incredible instability: mass protests, fraud accusations, and the silencing of political opponents through poisoning and imprisonment. It is no coincidence that the Orange Revolution came just a few months after the EU accession of 10 former Warsaw Pact and Soviet states, including Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Baltics. For West Ukrainians, watching their cousins and former countrymen gain acceptance to Europe, while they remained subject to a leadership they viewed as proxies of Moscow, was too much to bear. This is why Rice's insistence on territorial integrity for its own sake is not just ill-considered, but a futile attempt at stemming the tide of history.

Mutually agreed secession has proved to bring regional stability. The Balkan states, site of brutal civil wars in the late 20th century, demonstrate the success of dissolution along ethnic and religious lines as a tool of post-war stability. Even within one of the successor states, Bosnia-Herzegovina, there are substates: Republica Srpska, and the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose bizarrely-shaped border represents lands held by either side at the conclusion of the Bosnian Civil War. The 1995 Dayton Accords cemented this weak federal arrangement, which ended three and a half years of Europe's worst ethnic cleansing since the Holocaust. Additionally, Czechoslovakia enjoyed an amicable and bloodless divorce, without world powers lamenting its territorial integrity. Splitting a country is not always an appropriate solution, but there is no doubt it has been successfully implemented in Europe. With the Balkan experience in mind, I have advocated for the breakup of Iraq as well.

... ... ...

Ukraine is better off without Crimea. Critics will no doubt deride this yielding as weak surrender, but it is better viewed as a strategic concession. Ukraine and the West are better off without Crimea, and perhaps other Russian-leaning regions in East Ukraine as well. The Ukrainian interim government should negotiate exact borders – perhaps, say, Crimea and the three other oblasts that lead up to the city of Donetsk – with the goal of retaining the maximum population whose electoral balance tips unquestionably to Europe and NATO-friendly political parties. It is better to have a smaller Ukraine that is a united and confident member of Europe, than the current Ukraine that is an unstable political football between old Cold War foes. What remains to be seen is whether Moscow will attempt to invade, occupy, and annex other pro-Russian regions of East Ukraine as well. For this reason, it is better for Ukraine and its Western allies to get ahead of the situation and negotiate a concession settlement that guarantees a Russian withdrawal from elsewhere in the country. In my previous Forbes post, I wrote of the great strategic importance of Ukraine to Russia. Therefore, if Russia comes away from this crisis with only, say, the Crimea to Donetsk corridor (approximately 20% of Ukraine's population), leaving the rest of the country to self-determination, this should be viewed as a victory in Washington.

The breakup of Ukraine is not anyone's ideal outcome, nor should anyone take the breakup of a country lightly. There are certain secession movements, such as the one going on in Scotland, and the brief debate in Belgium a few years ago, which should never happen. These movements are born of the sentimentality of historic and cultural kinship, rather than any true ideological difference. In Ukraine's case, however, the two sides are split over a fundamental vision of their country's place in the world. Political coexistence has proven impossible in the era of an expanded Europe. It should be noted that the Bosnian arrangement is not feasible in Ukraine either. Bosnia can remain under one flag with a weak federal government, because its differences are at a local, ethno-religious level. In Ukraine's case, a one-state solution is impossible because the differences are at the level of the state.

The U.S. and Europe support a western-leaning country that aspires to democracy, freedom, and eventual EU and NATO membership. Russia wants the exact opposite. Given that the U.S. and Europe will not commit troops, a bifurcated Ukraine that has a chance to pursue a more democratic and Western future by ceding its pro-Russian segments, is the next best option

[May 14, 2014] In Ukraine, the US is dragging us towards war with Russia by John Pilger

May 13, 2014 | The Guardian | Jump to comments (3662)

... ... ...

Why do we tolerate the threat of another world war in our name? Why do we allow lies that justify this risk? The scale of our indoctrination, wrote Harold Pinter, is a "brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis", as if the truth "never happened even while it was happening".

Every year the American historian William Blum publishes his "updated summary of the record of US foreign policy" which shows that, since 1945, the US has tried to overthrow more than 50 governments, many of them democratically elected; grossly interfered in elections in 30 countries; bombed the civilian populations of 30 countries; used chemical and biological weapons; and attempted to assassinate foreign leaders.

In many cases Britain has been a collaborator. The degree of human suffering, let alone criminality, is little acknowledged in the west, despite the presence of the world's most advanced communications and nominally most free journalism. That the most numerous victims of terrorism – "our" terrorism – are Muslims, is unsayable. That extreme jihadism, which led to 9/11, was nurtured as a weapon of Anglo-American policy (Operation Cyclone in Afghanistan) is suppressed. In April the US state department noted that, following Nato's campaign in 2011, "Libya has become a terrorist safe haven".

The name of "our" enemy has changed over the years, from communism to Islamism, but generally it is any society independent of western power and occupying strategically useful or resource-rich territory, or merely offering an alternative to US domination. The leaders of these obstructive nations are usually violently shoved aside, such as the democrats Muhammad Mossedeq in Iran, Arbenz in Guatemala and Salvador Allende in Chile, or they are murdered like Patrice Lumumba in the Democratic Republic of Congo. All are subjected to a western media campaign of vilification – think Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, now Vladimir Putin.

Washington's role in Ukraine is different only in its implications for the rest of us. For the first time since the Reagan years, the US is threatening to take the world to war. With eastern Europe and the Balkans now military outposts of Nato, the last "buffer state" bordering Russia – Ukraine – is being torn apart by fascist forces unleashed by the US and the EU. We in the west are now backing neo-Nazis in a country where Ukrainian Nazis backed Hitler.

Having masterminded the coup in February against the democratically elected government in Kiev, Washington's planned seizure of Russia's historic, legitimate warm-water naval base in Crimea failed. The Russians defended themselves, as they have done against every threat and invasion from the west for almost a century.

But Nato's military encirclement has accelerated, along with US-orchestrated attacks on ethnic Russians in Ukraine. If Putin can be provoked into coming to their aid, his pre-ordained "pariah" role will justify a Nato-run guerrilla war that is likely to spill into Russia itself.

Instead, Putin has confounded the war party by seeking an accommodation with Washington and the EU, by withdrawing Russian troops from the Ukrainian border and urging ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine to abandon the weekend's provocative referendum. These Russian-speaking and bilingual people – a third of Ukraine's population – have long sought a democratic federation that reflects the country's ethnic diversity and is both autonomous of Kiev and independent of Moscow. Most are neither "separatists" nor "rebels", as the western media calls them, but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland.

Like the ruins of Iraq and Afghanistan, Ukraine has been turned into a CIA theme park – run personally by CIA director John Brennan in Kiev, with dozens of "special units" from the CIA and FBI setting up a "security structure" that oversees savage attacks on those who opposed the February coup. Watch the videos, read the eye-witness reports from the massacre in Odessa this month. Bussed fascist thugs burned the trade union headquarters, killing 41 people trapped inside. Watch the police standing by.

A doctor described trying to rescue people, "but I was stopped by pro-Ukrainian Nazi radicals. One of them pushed me away rudely, promising that soon me and other Jews of Odessa are going to meet the same fate. What occurred yesterday didn't even take place during the fascist occupation in my town in world war two. I wonder, why the whole world is keeping silent."

Russian-speaking Ukrainians are fighting for survival. When Putin announced the withdrawal of Russian troops from the border, the Kiev junta's defence secretary, Andriy Parubiy – a founding member of the fascist Svoboda party – boasted that attacks on "insurgents" would continue. In Orwellian style, propaganda in the west has inverted this to Moscow "trying to orchestrate conflict and provocation", according to William Hague. His cynicism is matched by Obama's grotesque congratulations to the coup junta on its "remarkable restraint" after the Odessa massacre. The junta, says Obama, is "duly elected". As Henry Kissinger once said: "It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but what is perceived to be true."

In the US media the Odessa atrocity has been played down as "murky" and a "tragedy" in which "nationalists" (neo-Nazis) attacked "separatists" (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine). Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal damned the victims – "Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says". Propaganda in Germany has been pure cold war, with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung warning its readers of Russia's "undeclared war". For the Germans, it is a poignant irony that Putin is the only leader to condemn the rise of fascism in 21st-century Europe.

A popular truism is that "the world changed" following 9/11. But what has changed? According to the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, a silent coup has taken place in Washington and rampant militarism now rules. The Pentagon currently runs "special operations" – secret wars – in 124 countries. At home, rising poverty and a loss of liberty are the historic corollary of a perpetual war state. Add the risk of nuclear war, and the question is: why do we tolerate this?

www.johnpilger.com

Selected Comments
NOTaREALmerican 13 May 2014 8:38pm

Oh come on, we're not "dragging anybody".

Most optimistic people of the world realize the US is the bright shining light on democracy hill, and - we, of course - have the interests of all the freedom loving people of the world foremost in mind.

Jeesh, everybody knows this. Would we have slow-motion eagles and flags if it wasn't true?

Beckow -> NOTaREALmerican 13 May 2014 10:20pm

US government means well, after all they say so all the time. The scary thing is that they are - most of them - probably quite sincere in this narcissistic delusion. The elites in Washington are not as much evil (there is a bit of that), as they completely lack experience. They misunderstand history, they live in clichés, they like to argue with slogans. So "bombing" other people for freedom are just words they throw around. Any rival is always demonized, any lie will do.

The media mostly acts to elaborate on existing stereotypes, otherwise people simply couldn't grasp what is going on. It is the lazy leading the ignorant. As long as the good fortune and wealth lasts, it is an amusing spectacle. But what if one day the goodies are gone?

These elites lack real experiences with life. Their education is based on simplistic good-bad formulas, with a heavy doses of myths. Their understanding of other people's history is dismal. They think WWII was won by US invasion of Normandy and fought over Holocaust. They don't get other people because they simply don't get complexity, nuance, local histories. They still don't understand the concept of "ethnic" identity. So they break stuff and retreat to their ignorance.

There is also the acquisitive angle: give us your resources, buy our stuff, borrow and pay us back, after all US is primarily a business. There are too many around the world who dream of getting something from the benevolent Americans, and some do. Enough to keep this latter day cargo cult going. In Ukraine this mindless US approach hit a wall, so they are angry. When people with no real experiences and a great sense of self-worth and entitlement get angry, it can be scary. But I still think at the end they will pull back, they have a short attention span and there are other, easier places to liberate and plunder.

Joel Parker -> Beckow 13 May 2014 11:57pm

I pick up a bit more true evil from the people you describe as just stupid. I must believe there are a few more evil for evil sake type of people on the earth altogether.

Beckow -> Joel Parker

There is some evil, sure. Mostly just selfishness and careers. There is also an enormous external ethnic lobby that comes into this, some just emotional, others with old agendas, etc... This ethnic angle probably causes more damage than anything else.

But, do not underestimate how ignorant some of these decision makers are. They are trained to come across as "knowing", they talk a lot, some are even eloquent, but their knowledge and experience is often an inch deep. Plus, they are hyper-conformist, that's really why they made it that far. So they are trained to spout the official line. No real thinking required. So they get manipulated.

UdomThongpai -> Beckow

It's in their nature. Cowboys don't bother trying to outwit their opponents. They just shoot them... Americans play hockey and american football, while many of their opponents play chess. They only have the experience of going straight for the goal with violence.

Davo3333 -> NOTaREALmerican

Actually the US isnt the bright light of democracy you claim it to be at all. There are only 25 true democratic countries in the world and the US ranks about 21st which means it is fast sliding down to the status of a "flawed democracy". By comparason with the true democracies it has much higher levels of corruption and press freedom is only about 48th in the world.

Also it has more people in jail than any other country and the highest rate of being sent to jail and also still maintains the death penalty on a large scale. And its archaic gun laws result in Americans being 20 times more likely to be shot than in other more advanced democracies.

The US is desperately using military means to try to hold onto its position in the world , but it is a hopeless case as it is now heading towards Greek levels of debt and China is going to have an economy that is 2-3 times bigger than the US.

NoOneYouKnowNow -> Beckow 14 May 2014 3:35am

You're very wrong. The elites in Washington are as evil as anyone else can be. Decades of death squads, invasions, torture, mass murder, all in the name of profits. Millions of dead.
That's pretty fucking evil.

franklin100 Beckow 14 May 2014 5:47am

Your describing the average Joe in America. If you think the elite or the government are stupid that's dangerous. Now we know the extent of surveillance in the US then it's obvious that any dissenter in government could be and would be blackmailed.

I don't know who owns the CIA but it sure isn't the American people. I think America is a fascist state as it's impossible to separate corporate interests from the state.

The problem is that Putin is no beacon for the people either he is FSB writ large controlling thieving murdering oligarchs.

Certainly the psychopaths are winning.

Beckow -> franklin100 14 May 2014 6:52am

Psychopaths with their reckless ignorance and drive for power often keep on winning. Until they don't. Ukraine looks like a place where these policies hit a wall.

The Washington elite is ambitious, but not much smarter than the average Joe. Look at the results, they have pretty much failed in almost everything they try to do. Collecting endless data and repeating slogans about "freedom" is not a policy - it is what people do when they don't have real policies.

Bush Junior was a perfect example of an uneducated, action driven, lazy leader. What he was in public, is really the way almost all of them are. He just had a lack of social inhibitions, so the cowboy-like stupidity was just too glaring. But he is quite typical of what the world is dealing with. They like to "bomb" others to spread human rights and democracy. How smart can you be even saying something that crazy?

Pindi -> NOTaREALmerican 14 May 2014 7:45am

Most optimistic people of the world realize the US is the bright shining light on democracy hill, and - we, of course - have the interests of all the freedom loving people of the world foremost in mind.

Are you going for the joke of the day post?

The US "govt" has been at war with the world since 1945 and now is at war with its own people and is a menace to the world, to world economic stability, to the environment, to world peace, and to life itself. Polls across the world place the US at no.1 as the greatest threat to world peace, above even Israel and Pakistan.

The US "govt" nominally comprises the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court, but since the JFK assassination it is controlled by a cabal of bankers and oilmen who carry out false flag operations (I get moderated if I name a certain one which is used to legitmise the "war on turrr") and world domination, as spelt out in the PNAC document and in Brezinski´s book The Grand Chessboard.

Yes, yes I know, its all a conspriacy theory. But read what a former US Treasury Secretary has to say on this:

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2013/07/13/coup-detat-paul-craig-roberts/

voteless -> Beckow

"latter day cargo cult"

I like it Beckow

MereMortal -> Beckow 14 May 2014 1:34pm

As serious analysis goes, This is the purest codswallop, it reduces the world's and history's most dangerous and rampant and expensive military machine down to the level of a Victoria Wood sketch with well-meaning, sincere but inept people at the helm.

RichardMid Beckow, 14 May 2014 3:04pm

I think you delude yourself.

Review the "philosophy" (if that be a name for it) of one Leo Stauss, father and poisonous inspiration of the Neocons and the Neo-Neocons (Nuland, her husband, Kagan, and their foul friends).

Nobody should doubt that these intellectual runts actually believe the destruction of all manknd has produced over centuries should be destroyed, literally, to make way for the cleansing new...

This is not a Monty Python sketch.

XW1234 -> Pindi

"the PNAC document"---the "Mein Kampf" of U.S. Corporate-Fascism.

Beckow -> MereMortal 14 May 2014 5:52pm

" it reduces the world's and history's most dangerous and rampant and expensive military machine down to the level of a Victoria Wood sketch with well-meaning, sincere but inept people at the helm."

Well, not quite. First of all I would nominate the Nazis as the history's worst. And I agree that especially due to strong manipulation by emotional ethnic lobbies and military industry, US foreign policy has often been evil. There is also a point where ignorance, self-righteousness and egoisms are just evil in practice. And I said that. But they think that they mean well.

There is an air of earnestness among Washington foreign policy elites. They don't get that other people might think differently, that there are different explanations for what happens, and that those explanations are not always mutually exclusive. That is by the way why almost nothing they have tried has worked.

By the way, in order to analyze one would need a lot more space. These are just brief comments. My main point is: thank god that people like John Pilger are around.

Beckow -> MartinAlaskan

"America could/should do a far better job of responsibly using its power"

If US foreign policies would reflect the views of majority of Americans, they would be much better. That would be a good start.

I am not suggesting any other countries - and I have not seen any of those countries seriously suggest themselves. Currently only US elite insists that "US is indispensable and special". And what does that make the rest of the world? Dispensable? Or worse?

MereMortal -> Beckow 14 May 2014 7:55pm

I like it when people are civilised in their retorts, like you were and I wasn't, kudos to you...

I thought that you were letting them off too lightly. I wonder if what you think is sincere, is what I think is 'a firm belief that what we're doing is in our best interests, but we mustn't involve the sheep, because they won't like it'. That way they get to at least have a rationale for their actions and for all that secrecy. I don't buy that they are sincere in thinking they are good, because then I think they'd be delighted to share their true motives with the world and would not be so paranoid and persecutory of Manning/Assange/Snowden.

I mean there is such a thing as realpolitik, and the other countries know it and all get up to their own dirty tricks, it's just that they don't have the same ability to project their power and military violence.

Beckow -> MereMortal 15 May 2014 12:52am

That depends on what we mean by "sincerity". What you and I and most normal people consider sincerity is not the way the foreign policy elites and the neo-cons (mostly the same people) see it.

They have a functional understanding of sincerity, in other words: "does what I think, what I do, what I say, advance my career? Does it make me a part of the team? Am I advancing our objectives?"

It is a business "sincerity", they are true to themselves because that helps with their careers and with the "business". What is lacking is actual critical thinking, self-reflection, etc....But they truly believe this stuff, they never give it a second thought.

ocixem2 -> 3KOSTURA 13 May 2014 9:23pm
John Pilger is one of the all-time great journalists who was never afraid to speak truth to power.

He was there in Central America when the US sent in its covert ops to organize the mass murders of untold numbers of innocent peasants. He's seen firsthand the death, destruction and mayhem that are part and parcel of the US's dirty wars.

And now it's happening all over again in Ukraine.

Here is perhaps one of the greatest speeches Pilger ever gave, where he points out the Grand Canyon which lies between the opinions, attitudes, beliefs and values of the American 99% and those of the American 1%:

Lifting the Veil

LeDingue -> stripedone

stripedone, you use a common tactic of the gchq avatars performing their "perception management" duties: omission

Bear in mind that most readers here haven't forgotten the key event that came before the Russian move to secure its military assets in Crimea: the installation by US sponsored coup d'etat of an extremist russophobic government hand picked by the US.

Not mentioning this rather crucial piece of context only works on stupid or inattentive readers.

Russia reacted to a regime change, Russia did not instigate the upheaval. They acted defensively.

John Brennan visited Kiev (on a false passport!), result: one thousand hooligans moved into Odessa, Right Sektor "National Guard" take over from Ukrainian army - Odessa Massacre & Mariupol shootings.

Joe Biden flies into Kiev for meetings with ultra-nationalists, result: Hunter Biden joins the team of Burisma Holdings

Burisma Holdings is a privately owned oil and gas company with assets in Ukraine and operating in the energy market since 2002. To date, the company holds a portfolio with permits to develop fields in the Dnieper-Donets, the Carpathian and the Azov-Kuban basins

Dnepropetrovsk is the base of the oligarch Kolomoisky and Yarosh's eastern neo-nazi militia HQ
(h/t Jeremn & neomarxist)

whitja01 -> 3KOSTURA, 14 May 2014 4:46am

Indeed. If what looks like a planned ethnocide in eastern Ukraine proceeds, I hope the Guardian editor is treated as a war criminal, along with Obama, Kerry, Nuland and that entire putrid State Department. If you support neo-Nazi thugs, you are one.

Anyway, thanks again for this article. I hope an anti-war, anti-fascist movement will emerge over this issue.

As for 'bringing democracy', a look at all the recent countries USA has 'interfered' with in the past 20 years, most are or were trying to get out of the petrodollar regime. It's nothing to do with democracy, but all about controlling both oil and the corrupt petro-dollar. Without it, USA would be the third world country that it actually is.

Charles Edmund Coote Sykes -> ocixem2

Brilliant article. If the US and UK did not interfere in other peoples' countries the enormous death rate would be reduced. Consider the two Iraqi wars and the "peace" since they caught and hanged Saddam. After the first one child leukemia shot up due to the use of depleted uranium tank shells and then the sanctions meant that medicines could not get through. After they deposed Saddam in the second, the death rate has been a hundred times what it was under that dictator.

So consider the balance sheet. Huge military spending benefits a few companies, including private security companies. The tax payer is poorer in both countries. Left alone Iraq would have got on with its own life and produced a modest amount of oil (from its massive reserves), more if sanctions had not restricted its production. Most people have no idea about Iraqis, many of them had Masters degrees from Western universities.

So the UK and US intervene in Iraq and cause maybe 1m deaths but can't be bothered to intervene in Rwanda where the same number were killed. Is that because there is no oil in Rwanda?

3KOSTURA -> Alleagra , 14 May 2014 10:25am

This, alas, is the only way you can talk sense into a degrading and abusive power with a wanton disregard for human life, dignity and intelligence. There comes a point when pitchforks and guillotines become the only viable form of communication between the clueless rulers and their abused subjects. Expletives are one step removed from that point. Think of them as a final warning.

RedMercurius -> 3KOSTURA , 14 May 2014 1:27pm

It is just another Pentagon asswipe. The odd CIF article doesn't change that. They echo the drumbeats of war and promote the agenda as fervently as the rest, at the moments that matter, and have done so diligently for at least the last 20+ years - ever since humanitarian war came into vogue.

Then they point back to stuff like this to rescue their liberal credentials. But propaganda is all about rhythm and inflection points, and they never fail on that...

3KOSTURA -> RedMercurius 14 May 2014 5:36pm

Yes. in it's current form and configuration, The Guardian is a Pentagon asswipe. No two ways about it. I think we all - Guardian's Board of Directors included - recognize this sorry fact and can readily attest to it. Like everything in free capitalism: freedom, human rights, democracy, human life, science, open society, The Guardian, too, has been debased and lowered to the absolute gnawed-out bottom of the pathetic little barrel. Perhaps the revolutions eat their children, but the free-market does not only it its own children: it eats its children, its grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, as well as children and grandchildren of its cousins, family and friends. In fact, it eats and devours everything in sight, so why shouldn't it eat another child of its own -- free, honest, investigative journalism.

This obvious truth notwithstanding ("Otherwise, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the theater performance"?), I think it is clear to everyone that, by placing people of honor like John Pilger at the core of it's Op-Ed section, Guardian's team is trying to send out a forceful coded S.O.S. message to the rest of the world: We did not sell out: we have been hijacked and we are not at freedom to speak; please understand us and dismiss our public words as utterly insincere and scared; instead, please read between the lines..

No one really knows how long even this thin sliver of resistance and independence will hold out. The powers of darkness may silence even those whispered voices any moment now.

On the other hand, we, the rest of the humans, have the right and the moral obligation to let those sinister forces know that this is one war they cannot possibly win; that their attempts to silence the voices of truth and reason cannot realistically succeed - now or ever (they never had) - and that medieval ways of warlord dominance, hegemony and terror, or the Stalinist mind control, have long since gone the way of the dinosaurs. If they want to pick a lost fight, it is their prerogative. But it is our obligation to inform them that the Emperor's undies have dropped to his ankles, that they have become sick, tired, demented and abusive and that, if they do not change their evil ways - and change fast - they have nowhere to go but the gigantic junkyard of history - already cluttered with fossils and skeletal remains of the free-capitalism foot fetishists, AynRandists, MiltonFriedmanists, Laissez-Faire apologists and free market cretins of all kind and ilk.

I am tossing in my two cents toward our shared goal.

LeonWolfeson -> 3KOSTURA

Ah, so in your world it's being a binary choice between being an asswipe of the Pentagon or Putin.

That says a lot about you, really. It's not good and honorable to support, for example, blogger registration laws.

3KOSTURA -> LeonWolfeson

No, it is not my choice. It is CIA's. Check under: Edward Snowden.

titeuf -> 3KOSTURA

Well said, and I very much hope you are right about The Guardian's team. They certainly deserve the credit for publishing John Pilger's article.

If I remember well, it was John who said in one of his famous university speeches in the US years ago that

".. For some time now we have to read between the lines of the corporate media in order to understand what really is going on, just like people in Eastern Europe a couple of decades ago".

One thing is for sure, judging by the number of anti-Pilger comments, NSA, GCHQ and other trolls have mobilised all their forces and have been working round the clock since this article was published.

karlo -> huzar30, 13 May 2014 9:12pm

John Pilger is writing it as it is, not as Obama or Cameron would have people like you believe.

Victoria Nuland's comments made public show that the US was puppeteering behind the scenes, the recent visit of the head of the CIA to Kiev which was denied until they could no longer lie,, the reported sending of several hundred US 'assassins in Polo shirts' (credit to the film "the A-Team") to Eastern Ukraine..there is lots of evidence out there ...but you need to be prepared to open your eyes and ears when its much easier to just go with the propaganda flow.

DrKropotkin -> RvonMises, 13 May 2014 9:39pm

The leaked Nuland tape is evidence of the US backed coup. Why do you say the fascists are only a minor part of the government? Firstly, they hold the interior and defence ministries, as well as two other key positions. Secondly, even if they were a small part of the government, that should still be unacceptable for a western ally. It seems the west is desperate for friends these days and will take anyone who is against their enemies. A dangerous strategy and not guaranteed to succeed.

seamuspadraig -> RvonMises 13 May 2014 10:56pm

Washington is always caught off-guard--especially by the results of their own actions! Consider the case of Iraq, for example.

The fascists probably are only a low-level element in the current government, but right now, they're the only dependable gunmen that Kiev has to attack the east. The regular army of Ukraine has been--for some odd reason!--remarkably slow to attack its own citizens. So the government has marshaled the 'Pravy Sektor' into a newly formed and deputized National Guard to attack the east.

Scipio1 -> RvonMises

Prior to the coup the ineffable Ms Nuland had spent $5 billion of US taxpayers' money aiding 'democratic institutions' (never specified) in the Ukraine. So don't give us that stuff about the US being caught off-guard. And BTW the whole 'government' of the Ukraine was catapulted into power by the Sector 5 Sturmabeitilung with the blessing of Svoboda. The coup would not have happened without these paramilitaries.

And the Kiev regime would collapse in their absence. It is precisely for this reason Yatsenyuk and his oligarch friends will not and cannot control them.

maggieTee -> RvonMises

Fascists are "at best only a minor part of the Ukrainian government"

Last time I checked the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party are heading the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Defence in Kiev.

Not sure if those two qualify as "a minor part" of Kiev's government?

greatwhitehunter -> RvonMises 14 May 2014 4:54am

I think russia moving into crimea caught them off guard the rest was planned . maybe they assumed the russia would bend over for them

whitja01 -> RvonMises

Leaked Nuland phone call shows careful planning, right down to who should be the new leader, and voila, he was. Continuing sanctions and threats thereof against Russia show that they are not washing their hands of the situation.

FBI and CIA have set up offices in Kiev, and 400 Academy soliders are assisting the Ukraine army in their ethnic cleansing, er pacificaton drive. Kerry taking a lead role in all the negotiations. Does this sound like being caught off guard?

[May 14, 2014] The Vineyard of the Saker A look in the long distance who will have to pay for Ukraine v2

Quote: The USA's entire Ukrainian policy is based on a fallacy cooked up by Zbigniew Brzezinski and parroted by Hillary Clinton... I wonder if there is anybody in the US polity which understands who much these conceptual mistakes will end up costing the USA. By listening to these two hateful maniacs (this is really what Zbig and Hillary are!) the USA has completely mismanaged every step of its crucial relationship with both the EU and Russia.
Either the US/EU agree incur huge costs which will severely damage their economies (and they cannot afford that) or

The EU and US begin an ugly fight over "who pays what and under what terms", and

The EU is hit by a series of shocks as a result of the Ukrainian chaos (illegal immigration, crime, political disputes), and

NATO will be seen as either ineffective/incompetent/useless at best, and as reckless and irresponsible at worst.

So no matter what, the AngloZionist Empire will suffer massive consequences for is crazy notion of letting a huge country like the Ukraine explode right in the middle of the European continent.

To be honest, I am quite certain that Russia does not want that outcome at all. First, the Russian public opinion is extremely worked-up about having fellow Russians attacked by a mix of neo-Nazis and Jewish oligarchs and it would never accept putting up any kind of wall or abandon the Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Second, as I mentioned before, Donetsk and Lugansk along cannot be viable in isolation. Finally, I am not at all so sure that only these two regions will decide to hold a referendum, especially after the economic crisis really hits.

Ideally Russia wants a lose Ukrainian Confederation. This confederation would have to be thoroughly de-Nazified and would probably have to join the economic union with Russia and its partners (if only to benefit from Russian financial aid). Russia would also want the US and EU to pitch in its "fair share" of financial and technical support to gradually re-built "Ukraine v2", especially considering that these two entities are responsible for breaking up "Ukraine v1" in the first place. Needless to say, "Ukraine v2" would not be Banderastan and it would not join NATO.

As a side note, it would be really smart for the new Ukrainian leadership of this "Ukraine v2" to declare itself not only neutral but also totally demilitarized. Seriously, what is the point of having a military when stuck right in between NATO and Russia? Provide more targets?

As a (former and "recovering") military analyst I can tell you that by far the best defense against foreign aggression for Ukraine would be:

That does not require a single Hrivna of financing, looks extremely progressive, would get a standing ovation from all its neighbors and would provide the perfect "buffer" to reassure both NATO and Russia. And just imagine the amount of money saved which the "Ukraine v2" could use for far more urgent and contructive needs!

Alas, that would also require a vision which is far beyond what the current freaks in power can even begin to contemplate.

As I have mentioned it in the past, the USA's entire Ukrainian policy is based on a fallacy cooked up by Zbigniew Brzezinski and parroted by Hillary Clinton: Brzezinski believes that Russia cannot be a superpower without the Ukraine and Hillary believes that Putin wants to rebuild the USSR. They are both completely wrong, of course: Russia is already a superpower (it has now defeated the US/EU/NATO alliance in both Syria and the Ukraine) and Putin does not want to rebuild the USSR at all. I wonder if there is anybody in the US polity which understands who much these conceptual mistakes will end up costing the USA. By listening to these two hateful maniacs (this is really what Zbig and Hillary are!) the USA has completely mismanaged every step of its crucial relationship with both the EU and Russia.

In the case of rump-Ukraine more is not better, more is worse; less is better. The less Russia will have to manage and pay for the reconstruction of the Ukraine the better off Russia will be. From the EU's point of view, however, the more Russia takes over of the Ukraine, the better for the EU. This is even better from the US point of view because from the US point of view the more the US/EU "own" the Ukraine, the more they will have to pay for it and the more the transatlantic alliance will come under stress. So, paradoxically, it would be in the best interests of the USA to have Russia take over all of the Ukraine. Sounds crazy? Maybe, but that is still a fact.

So here is the truth: the Ukraine is not a prize at all - it is a huge burden.

That is a truth which no politician can openly state, of course

But we can, and should. Because if we keep that truism clear in our minds, we can then see why Russia's victory in this massive confrontation with the united powers of the US/EU/NATO is so total. Can you guess?

Because no matter what, Russia will have the option to chose how much of the Ukrainian burden it is willing to shoulder whereas the West will have to take whatever Russia does not want. Yep, that's right. Just remember the thought experiment we just did above. Russia could, in theory, refuse to take up any further burden and declare "ain't my problem, sorry" and there is nothing the US/EU/NATO could do about it (not to mention that such a Russians stance would completely deflate the stupid canard about Russia being ready to invade the Baltics, Poland or any other EU country).

In a sane world ruled by non-delusional people the real priority of western politicians would be to cuddle, beg, plead, threaten and trick Russia into taking over as much of the Ukraine as possible - the whole thing if possible. Let Russia deal with the neo-Nazis, let Russia pay Ukrainian pensions and salaries, let Russia rebuilt the entire economy, let Russia waste its energy and resources on this ungrateful and truly Herculean task. If Russia agreed to take over the full Ukraine NATO could even re-heat its "Russian threat" canard and justify its existence.

Luckily, however, as long as Putin is in power Russia will never agree to anything like it. Time is on Russia's side and the worst the situation of the Ukraine becomes, the weaker the US/EU/NATO block is, the stronger the Russian bargaining position becomes.

So while Russia cannot remain indifferent and while Russians cannot cynically get some popcorn and beer and watch it all go to hell, Russia will continue to play a very low-key game: Russia will stick to its principled position, it will refuse to be a party to any ludicrous solution, and it will condemn the crazy and neo-Nazi policies of the freaks currently in power in Kiev.

Other than that, Russia will simply wait for western leaders to wake up from their current delusional hallucinations and get serious about solving a problem which is first and foremost their problem which they created and they will have to pay for solving.

[May 14, 2014] Lavrov interview with Bloomberg

A very impressive interview. Rare chance to see a real diplomat in action not superficial and incompetent placeholders like Hillary or Kerry. You may not agree with him, but still this is a top diplomat, no question about it. From comments on The Vineyard of the Saker "... Lavrov is all a politician and a diplomat should be. He carries an aura of authority and calm. These interviewers try to provoke a response that is prescripted. Lavrov must be sick to death of answering the same questions that try to push Russia into a corner of blame and provocation. "

May 14, 2014 | YouTube

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov interview to Bloomberg TV channel

[May 14, 2014] A look in the long distance: who will have to pay for "Ukraine v2"?

vineyardsaker.blogspot.com.au

I just wanted to mention here a topic which is not often discussed in the western press but which does pop-up with some regularity in the Russian press. Let's set aside the current events and ask ourselves the following question:

Sooner or later there will be some kind of state in what used to be the Ukraine until 2014. The Crimea is gone forever to Russia, that is certain. A "People's Republic of Donetsk" all alone like some kind of Lichtenstein but stuck between Russia and Banderastan is most unlikely. Even a "People's Republic of the Donbass" or a "Novorossia" composed of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions would have a very hard time surviving as an independent state. I think that we can assume that the Donbass will either have to join Russia or, at the very least, the Eurasian Union (Rus, Kaz, Bel, Arm, etc.) or some kind of loose Ukrainian confederation. The latter is, of course, only possible if the USA gives up on its delusion of maintaining a neo-Nazi and russophobic Banderastan and accepts some kind of sovereign but civilized "Ukraine" in its place. Right now there are no signs that anybody in Washington is ready to accept that. But whatever the USA does or does not want, there is one thing which is sure: all the successor states of the original Ukraine will need HUGE amounts of foreign financial aid. We are not talking just about providing a few billions in loan guarantees to a clique of corrupt oligarchs, but about fully re-building a more or less modern country almost from scratch. This is a huge program which will take at least a decade and will require immense resources. It will have to be implemented in an highly volatile environment, with massive poverty and corruption, with violence prevalent and possibly with a serious terrorism problem. The political instability of such a environment is guaranteed. So in the light of this - if you were the EU or Russia - would you want to be responsible for more or less of that territory?

Think about it: whoever will end up "owning" (if not de-jure then de-facto) most of this new "Ukraine v2" will also own most of its problems. The EU plan in this regard is crystal clear: the EU wants to own it all and let Russia pay for it all. Unsurprisingly Russia does not agree. The Americans have it even better: they simply don't ask this question, don't think about this issue and have no plans to own anything if by "owning" we mean "paying for". This is completely immature and plain silly. Denying this problem will not make it magically disappear.

Now here is the beauty of it all, at least seen from the Russian point of view:

Russia has already reunited the only part of the Ukraine it really "wanted": Crimea. From a purely egoistic and self-centered point of view, Russia could built a huge wall all along its border with the Ukraine and declare "to hell with it all" and let all the other actors (Ukrainians, EU, US) deal with that. I am kidding, of course, but as a thought-experiment, this is a useful one. Ask yourself: what would happen if Russia did exactly that. Let's assume that Russian public opinion would not be up in arms against such a decision (in reality it would!) and let's just also assume that the (imaginary) "United People's Republic of Donetsk and Luganks" would be fine with that (it's only a though experiment - so indulge me in some unrealistic speculations here, okay?). Let's even assume that Kharkov, Odessa, Zaporozhie, Nikolaev and other cities and regions stop protesting or resisting.

All Russia would do is turn off the gas spigot (unless it is paid for in advance), get out the popcorn and beer and watch the reports from the Ukraine. What do you think would happen?

From tragedy to farce

May 14, 2014 | vineyardsaker.blogspot.com.au

Short news highlights:

[May 13, 2014] Ukraine crisis: Donetsk region asks to join Russia

Those two Guardian presstitutes do not even understand that all he writes can be replicated on May 25. that they essentially give ammunition to their opponents.
The Guardian

Oleksandr Turchynov, Ukraine's acting president, told the country's parliament: "The farce which terrorists call the referendum will have no legal consequences except the criminal responsibility for its organisers."

The Kremlin has called the new government in Kiev "neo-fascist"...

...there has been an increasing mood of defiance, especially as a Ukrainian army operation against the armed separatists resulted in multiple casualties.

...Gazprom, Russia's state energy company, also told Ukraine it had to settle a $3.5bn (£2bn) gas debt, and pay in advance for deliveries in June, or be cut off.

Eugene Weixel Alex Weber

12 May 2014 9:48pm

It isn't that Ukraine is "like nazi Germany" it is that the west is using nazis and pro nazis as proxies against Russian speakers and trying to use them to pull Russia into a trap. It could be that these nazis once they outlive their usefulness will get the Sadaam/ Quadafi treatment.

Soul_Side -> Alex Weber

Alex Weber said:

You people have seriously got to stop comparing Ukraine to Nazi Germany. If you actually believe that nonsense then I pity you.

Once the Ukrainian far-right stop comparing themselves to Nazis, and stop burning their opponents to death, and stop acting like their National Socialist heroes from the Second World War generally, I'll stop too. Until then, keep your pity for the victims whose numbers have been growing day by day.

Adamastor

The self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk has asked to join Russia, just two hours after it announced the final results in a controversial referendum on independence.
and- in the traditional Russian way- two hours before the referendum began.

Jeremn Adamastor

12 May 2014 5:40pm

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that the media which now derides the voting in the east will, on 26 May, have loads of pictures of happy voters draped in yellow and blue. And their reports will say that voting was fair, transparent, flawless, and popular.

somebodysomewhere -> Jeremn

12 May 2014 9:45pm

that copy was already written by USAID and circulated to the usual 'bureaus' - but many of them know how to dish out that stuff all on their own (as the Guardian's man in Moscow demonstrates regularly).

'foreign press' has always provided a good cover for those who need one.

Ozma46 -> Jeremn

The republic passed the following resolution

3. Law enforcement agencies of the Republic to ensure the criminal prosecution of the leaders of the Kiev junta and other persons involved in inciting, organizing and committing mass murders on the territory of the DND: Kolomoyskit, Nalivaichenko, Parubiy, Havanova, Yulia Tymoshenko, Atarinov, Arseniy Yatseniuk, Lyashko, Artemenko and U.S. citizens Brennan, Nuland, Psaki."

Now that is interesting, compare this action to the first act of the Kiev regime which was to ban the Russian language. Someone in the Republic has a head on their shoulders.

nixonfiend -> christopher22

Seems a bit unfair to the alleged voters - who voted for a independent state, only for the self-proclaimed leaders to surrender their "independence" to Russia 2 hours later!

Victor Chan

Both regions are too large to be integrated into Russia. Too expensive for Moscow and the lack of the military perpetration...assuming the Russian army isn't facing military resistance from Kiev. What Russia at least could do is to represent those regions in their upcoming dialogue with Kiev.

Now, the West is yapping about the legitimacy of the referendums. However, how legitimate the May 25th election would be if people from these 2 regions refuse to vote?

SoukPuppitree

Here's hoping Pripyat doesn't have a referendum or Russia will be in serious trouble.

Colin BallSoukPuppitree

I think Russia has shown itself to be both level headed and very very patient, despite incredible provocation by the US-led West. I dread to think of the carnage that would have ensued if Russia had installed by violent coup and supported (including with 400 elite Russian commandos) an extreme anti-american putsch government on americas border.

Hallucinogen -> Colin Ball

I think Russia has shown itself to be both level headed and very very patient

Tacty -> Hallucinogen

people there have no complaints...

Tacty -> ID5252799

"ukraine" offered only dead bodies and burned people...

johnnydoe -> kolf

military annexation of Crimea ... he "right" to intervene anywhereon Ukrainian territory ...

Agreed, but do you think US/EU/NATO behaviour in Ukraine have something to do with it? US officially backed the rioters in Kiev against the legal government, and EU and US officials went to Maidan to show support to the rioters - was that ok?

Putin has started talking about Eastern Ukraine as "Malorossiya" and saying "God knows why" it was ever made a part of Ukraine

Malorossiya was made part of Ukraine by Bolsheviks in after USSR was formed, basically to better integrate the rest of Ukraine into USSR (the same pattern of drawing maps was used in Kazakhstan and North Caucasus). It does not mean Eastern Ukrainians have to suffer for this forever, living under the nationalistic (at best) government dominated by Western Ukrainians?

ID5252799 -> johnnydoe

Look, Nazis crop up everywhere.

France with Le Pen, the UK with the EDL, etc, etc.

What you do though is introduce real democracy, ban hate speech legislate against persecution of minorities and guess what? They never get in.

The same would happen in Ukraine. To label all W.Ukrainians Nazis is just wrong. Just because they hijacked Maidan, it doesn't mean they are Maidan.

mauman -> ID5252799

maybe because NATO were making it worse. It had everything to do with Russia if you believed Kerry. Which you clearly do

LeDingue-> ID5252799

So why did the US select russophobic ultra-nationalists (some of whom have self identified as neo-nazi in the past) to put into power?

There has been no call to bring forwards the next parliamentary elections due in 2017.

Why in the context of the Geneva agreement was there no mention of the thousands of hooligans recruited to Right Sektor who had looted state arsenals?

Has John Kerry mentioned the danger of putting these extremists into uniform in the "national guard"?

It's almost as if the US wanted and planned for destabilisation, division and violence...

johnnydoe -> ID5252799

I hope you are not suggesting I am labelling all Western Ukrainian Nazis?

Not all Western Ukrainians are Nazis, and that's why the Maidan Nazis would never have a chance to come to power in a legal way. If they had a chance, they'd wait for 2015 when new presidential elections were to be held.

A pro-EU coup (call it "Maidan" if you will) could never introduce greater democracy, simply because 50% of the population did not support the coup, the coup was undemocratic as such.

But no doubt those in the power today are crazed Nazis (I doubt anyone needs convincing by now).

debutante -> ID5252799

You know very well, in reality, the interim Government is not controlled by Nazis.

The protests in Eastern Ukraine are not controlled by Russians, not a single shred of evidence has been produced so far to back that allegation. Whereas "moderate" nazis are conspicuously present in the Ukraine's current government and this can not be refuted in any manner whatsoever.

There are Nazis in Moscow also – for the same problem (no true democracy, no hate crime protection, etc).

You don't know what you are talking about. Your information is years out of date. Putin has long crushed all neonazi tendencies among the population. Hate crime protection my ass: wherever there is a dispute between a Russian and a representative of a minority, the courts always take the side of the minority. Please stop repeating outdated nonsense.

LeDingue ->ID5252799

Why are you so pro-Putin?

Why do you assert that I am "pro-Putin"?
I'm not a Russian citizen or resident so I'm neither pro nor anti Putin.
Russian nationalism is a function of where Russia is at in terms of modernisation and development of civil society: 15 years old (since Putin took over after the vodka kleptocracy of Yeltsin).
If the US wasn't a subversive hegemonic belligerent violent and malign influence all over the world I probably wouldn't be much interested in them either.

As a European, and a fan of stability, peace and cooperation, I think Russia was developing quite well with greater European interaction and influence, from a pretty low base.
Sadly the US destabilising actions in Ukraine (and elsewhere) appear to have been a deliberate re-ignition of the cold war isolation of Russia. This will harm Russian society, leave Ukraine in chaos and poverty and drive a division between the EU and Russia.

It is a quite deliberate political propaganda plan to polarise the debate into "if you're not with us then you're pro-Putin" as seen repeated endlessly in the comments here with all the childish "putinbot kremlinbot putinista" nonsense (and of course ignoring the presence of GCHQ avatars contracted to operate here).

This campaign to polarise the discourse (and thus deflect away from the real issue of US geopolitical ambition) is quite deliberately engineered across all the mainstream media.

whitja01 -> ID5252799

oh, yeah...this is really logical! Russia has been accused of interfering, it steps back and asks for dialogue, so now it is blamed for interfering again. It beggars belief that they are everywhere and control everything, except in the fevered imagination of those wanting war.


To the extent that the US (with UK connivance) is interfering in European affairs, including unfriendly surveillance, I am alarmed and very opposed. TTIP being the next piece of corporate nastiness, "leveraged" into likely reality with the coercive power of the NSA's years of political and commercial espionage.

MJMaguire

The world must recognise the strength of feeling in the People's Republic of Donetsk - the genie is out of the bottle. It is a fool who will try to stuff it back in.

atavistic -> MJMaguire

absolutely. the constant derision employed by the western media and this site to reduce the meaning of these referenda is so wholly unprofessional but mostly disrespectful of what is clearly a massive feeling of animosity toward an unelected, militarist government in Kiev.

usini

A logical solution would be regional autonomy, with the rights of both groups guaranteed.

iseethroughyou

The referendums – which Kiev has dismissed as illegitimate – were hastily organised and marked by numerous violations.

Pravy Sektor thugs, oops sorry the "national Guard, shutting down polling stations as well as shooting unarmed protestors.

GravyKing -> iseethroughyou

Pravy Sektor thugs, oops sorry the "national Guard, shutting down polling stations as well as shooting unarmed protestors.

Along with calling them all terrorists, it's a great way to convince people in the East to get on board with the idea that the Kiev government will somehow benefit them.

Kiev gov appears to have lost the plot. Along with outside nations who cannot bring themselves to admit they're effectively supporting far-right nationalists who couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery.

atavistic -> iseethroughyou

the militarism of the government will be its demise. no one can support the attacks on citizens that we've seen over the last few days, notice that Europe is silent ... it is aware that the people of Europe are watching closely and are ashamed of the part played by the EU ... not so for the US because the average US citizen can't even identify the pacific ocean on a map, let alone the Ukraine!

ID5252799

They don't need to annex because effectively they already have. Cue East Ukraine becoming Russia in all but name.

Leg Man -> ID5252799

I think that is absolutely right, and like South Ossetia it's people will be defended against future aggression. These Kiev neo-nazis will not get away with attacking these people in the future ... they may still yet regret what they have done these last few weeks.

Rialbynot -> ID5252799

I think it depends on whether Kiev renounces the use of further violence.

Italy gave autonomy to Trentino-Alto Adige.
Ukraine can give autonomy to Donetsk-Luhansk.

VoiceFromNowhere

Frankly, the Kiev junta has done everything to lose the East and South of Ukraine. They didn't miss a single opportunity to alienate the locals there. As the Kiev junta is guided directly from and by the US Department of State and the CIA, this alienation alone shows us the staggering level of incompetence in these two departments…

bibi62

"The farce, which terrorists call the referendum, will have no legal consequences except the criminal responsibility for its organisers,"


We are not even near a calm down of the situation, every time Kiev "illegal" authorities open their mouth, they call for more repression and disaster, of course all this backed up by the US and the EU who will come with more economic sanctions against Russia today.

This is desperate, it makes me sad and angry.

[May 12, 2014] Yanukovych compared the situation in Ukraine with Germany during the reign of Hitler

May 12, 2014 | Utro.ua

Yanukovych did not agree with those who believe that the topic of fascism in Ukraine inflated. As reported by the Russian media Fourth President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych compared the situation in Ukraine with the situation in Germany during the reign of the Nazis and Adolf Hitler.

"In an unprecedented armed coup, illegal seizure of power - we lost all that were collected daily by the pellet in a piggy bank of Ukraine unification. Todayaround hatred, fear , despair, revenge impulses , frank thuggery and fascism dominate political discourse " - said Yanukovych .

He disagrees with those who believe that the topic of fascism in Ukraine inflated. It seems that today's Ukraine began to resemble Germany during the reign of Hitler. Then Hitler was appointed as the enemy were dissenting intellectuals, Jews, Gypsies and some other social groups. Now in Ukraine entire towns are under siege, just because people are defending their point of view that is different from views of the Kiev junta !

"Heart of a normal person winces seeing burnt dead bodies, martyred in Odessa. But today we see incredible - the part of society, which was turned into zombie by propaganda was not only able to accept the murder as normal, but to rejoice in it . This is the ordinary fascism. junta propaganda created the image of an external enemy from fellow citizens. Supporters of junta rejoiced their deaths mocked and insulted the dead. I could not even imagine that people could be so cynical to speak about people burned alive"- said fourth president .
Source: Utro.ua

[May 12, 2014] Gang of racketeers attacked miners of amber in Rivne region

May 10, 2014 | ord-ua.com

When watching the news about civil war in Ukraine, it seems that at that time, as while in the South-East there is a war, Western Ukraine is a strong and quiet base of Turchynov's.government

Meanwhile, despite the fact that the West is traditionally the recruitment source of nationalist forces, the war had already came to Western regions too. And the reason is the appetites of the brass of the parties who came to power in February. Unable to cope with the armed opposition in South-East (only with the unarmed, as we have seen on the example of "Odessa massacre"), while suffering one defeat after another, the coalition has already start to splinter into hostile units attacking each other under crackling gunfire.

The reason for this turn not in ideological disputes on the destiny of Ukraine, not in attempts to purge their ranks of the notorious "agents of the Kremlin". Everything is much easier: there is a struggle for redistribution of property.

On 9 may a battle between "Right sector" militants and local residents took place.near the village of Alekseyevka Sarny district of Rivne region. According to local residents in the battle was attended by over 150 people which were actively using automatic rifles and other firarms. At least five militants from both sides were seriously injured, according to others, the loss amounted to dozens of people, including soldiers were killed. Three trucks are burned, which you can see on the photo, in addition to a dozen of jeeps and cars.

About the intensity of the battle can tell the fact that it lasted about two hours. According to the Chairman of Saranskogo district Council Nikolai Draganchuk the collision occurred near the tract Galibin. A state enterprise for amber mining was raided. The attackers attempted "raider" capture of the enterprise. They threatened guards with guns, and proclaim the fact that they are representatives of the nationalist parties, one of the leaders were presented by MP Volodymyr Prodyvus (his business cards were found on the battlefield). However, his name could be just a cover for the "operation". A local source said that among the personal belonging found after the battle were the symbols of the Right sector" and "Social-nationalist party of Ukraine". The reid was repusced when armed locals came to help.

Local law enforcement bodies detained 12 militants, the others disappeared into the surrounding forests. According to Nikolai Draganchuk police determine from the documents that most attackers were from Kyiv and Zhytomyr regions. In addition, they have left formidable arsenal of weapons, including rifles with optic sights. Thus suggest an important conclusions: the Parties that form the government Turchynov currently not so much eager to do battle with the opposition, as much as to exploit the situation of civil war, to simply redistribute important property.

Specifically the Rivne region were they already have skimishes with armed resistance can became another theatre of civil war.

For reference: in addition to a small state enterprises on extraction of amber, the lion's share of the development are the "plots" of amber poachers. Entire villages are engaged in illegal extraction of precious stone, the price of which on the black market ranges from $200 up to $400 per kilogram. In conditions of a state of instability and helplessness dispersed or demoralized police in the fall of 2013 poaching has increased dramatically.

Ukraine: pro-Russia separatists set for victory in eastern region referendum

The Guardian | Jump to comments (1031) | Selected Comments

The head of the de facto electoral commission said on Sunday night that nearly 90% of voters in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk voted for self-rule. "89%, that's it," Roman Lyagin said.

... ... ...

There was a further bloody incident on Sunday as a detachment of Ukraine's National Guard arrived in the town of Krasnoarmeisk. According to witnesses, they were angrily accosted by unarmed locals and subsequently opened fire, killing one and wounding two.

The authorities in Kiev have said these are "anti-terrorist operations", but they have resulted in a number of deaths, most recently in the city of Mariupol on Friday when at least seven people died as Ukrainian forces entered the city.

Only four polling stations opened on Sunday in Mariupol, which is home to 500,000 people. One was in the burned-out city administration building, seized by separatists and scene of fierce clashes in recent days. There were huge queues of people, almost all of whom said they were voting yes to separatism.

... ... ...

Ludmila Babushkina, 78, said she had cast her voted to protect the region from "fascists" in Kiev. She said that previously there had been a chance to make some kind of compromise with Kiev, but that none of the leading candidates in the election represented the Russian-speaking east of the country and that now she had decided she wanted to join Russia.

... ... ...

Lyagin said the referendum was not perfect but was the best thing possible in the current Ukrainian climate. "We don't have a legitimate government in Kiev. There is a de facto president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, and just because he is not at his desk does not mean that other people can take over," Lyagin said. "We have people who are themselves illegal telling us that we are illegal."

... ... ...

... the armed uprising against Kiev has been portrayed in Moscow and locally as an "anti-fascist" movement

Selected Comments

DontMakeSense

No matter how hard they try, Kiev Nazi's cant hide the truth:

Eastern and South Ukraine want NOTHING to do with them

Trurl DontMakeSense

Quite right. And the western and middle regions are just as free to choose their alliances and allegiances. The USA and EU will love them to death with loans and demands.

kalleblomqvist

The authorities in Kiev can tell us all they like that they don't recognise the results, but their actions speak louder than their words. If they have nothing to be afraid of, why are they sending the army to shoot at voters. The turnout has clearly been massive and they are scared.

As for the countries in the EU not recognising the referendum results, well that hardly surprises me. They have a history there. They have been promising a referendum on the EU in my country for 20 years (since John Major) and it never happens. So all I can say is welcome to the EU, East Ukraine! If you want to stick around with us you'd best get used to being ignored by Brussels!


ID9845712

I guess if you can stage a coup and take over an elected government... then you can likely justify almost anything...

shaken ID9845712

The coverage of the crisis by the establishment media is breathtaking.

The BBC describes unarmed men and women as "pro russian militia"

They are simply the Anti Nazi League of the East.......

ID9845712 shaken

There is very little journalism these days... mostly 'hangers on' and state sponsored news conferences... I remember way back when Trudeau was giving a press conference and a reporter asked a question that wasn't on the 'list'... and Trudeau told him so and refused to answer it... That was 30 or more years ago... and things have likely gotten worse.

peterDKK
Today's murderers have arrived in Krasnoarmeysk riding two banking service armored vehicles.
This seems to corroborate the suspicions of yurasumy that a prominent bank-owner, Kolomoyski, Dnepropetrovsk Governor, is behind the provocations. The more that Krasnoarmeysk is geographically close to Dnepropetrovsk.
Meanwhile the Ukranian Army is shedding headcount and equipment.
- Three conscripts have defected with their assault rifles from a base near Odesa.
- The rebels in the Dontesk Region have 'acquired' two light armored recon BRDM vehicles.
oagate
PEOPLE of Ukraine, don't let yourself to be fooled by all these lies that you are being fed. IMF, World Bank and NATO are not your saviours! They are there to strip your rich country bare with the help of local pawns! The US-EU bankers and other corporate scum are not interested in your welfare or democracy! They are there only because they need your country for geopolitical and economic interests! Russia is not your enemy, your true enemy is Goldman Sachs, Chevron, Halliburton and Monsanto! "Free trade" is coming your way in the form of fracking, GMO etc. These people have no morals, all they see is a land to grab, share price and profits. Stay alert and don't be fooled! Do your research!

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38441.htm

"Today, 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world's GDP. The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents." The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP, for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013. Together, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than sixty per cent of global GDP. Both pacts exclude China. Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty's chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy. Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 'trade advisers' – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Walmart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text. The Obama administration is preparing to fast-track the TPP treaty in a manner that will prevent the US Congress from discussing or amending any parts of the treaty. The longest section of the Chapter – 'Enforcement' – is devoted to detailing new policing measures, with far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons. Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards. The draft states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence [19].


StephenStafford oagate

Sounds as if the US is in dire straits and this oppressive initiative is to shore up its Corporatist Regime.

oagate StephenStafford

The American Empire reached a point of no return: its economy is entirely dependent on war.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/a-new-economic-system-is-emerging-the-nyt-reports-and-distorts-head-of-the-osce-meets-with-president-putin/5381591
They need constant chaos to feed on, otherwise they're done and they know that well. Our only hope is in the BRICs. If they cannot stand up to this US hegemony we are all screwed. There needs to be a balance and accountability in the world. Empires and monopolies never work in the long-term.

gman1969 oagate

What a load of propaganda. Russia is run by oligarchs which is as corrupt as Ukraine has been and that is why many want the rule of law and the freedom of speech to protect their economic integrity. Yanukovych and his cronies bled Ukraine dry and I see no difference in Russia with Putin and his strongmen. The West is driven by capitalism but the East by gangsterism. I know which offers a greater distribution of wealth and freedom.

RuStand gman1969

Russia has a lot of problems, including those you mentionned. The fact is, Ukraine has same and in a much more acute form. The East either produces for Russia or sends workforce to Russia. Western plans will completely ruin their lives.

oagate gman1969

So the US is not corrupt then? Are you kidding? For the US there's no difference if the regime/country is a democracy or not, they even side with extremist terrorists and nazis to achieve their agendas... do you want the US to roam the globe without any accountability whatsoever?

Nobody except BRICs can provide the needed balance. Sure, both China and Russia are corrupt and basically one-party states, but that is the unfortunate reality of this situation. Sadly the US democracy cannot be 'planted' into these countries...

I look forward to Ukrainians' feedback on this "distribution of wealth and freedom" in about 12 months time when the full effect of IMF programs will be known...

StephenStafford gman1969

The Russian Oligarchs were a creation of Yeltsin and the US which Putin inherited and hasn't the legal ability to alter, after all they bought the State assets from a willing seller, President Yeltsin.

Ukraine's Oligarchs are in a totally different league in terms of corruption and behaving as gangsters.

I know which offers a greater distribution of wealth and freedom.

Distribution of wealth in the USA & UK has seen a contraction of the number of people owning most of the 'wealth'. It is not unlike the consolidation of corporate wealth in Russia. Freedom is subject to the intrusion of NSA & GCHQ etc, which is not necessarily benign.

jamesoverseas

Several journalists with respected western newspapers tweeting that in the last hour or so pro-kiev forces shutting down the referendum have again opened fire on unarmed civilians - this time in Krasnoarmiisk. Appears one dead, one wounded.

Even if Kiev can assert military control, it's game over for Ukraine, it can only hold it together now as a permanent military occupation.

Hanwell123 jamesoverseas

Yes and a guerrilla war that Russia will get blamed for - and on go the sanctions and Russia loses it's energy market

SeMoncho Hanwell123

If a true trade war breaks out, it will be us, European citizens and businesses, the real losers.


Pan Szymanowski

It's very easy to call millions of people "idiots" just because they are disagree with you.

JosephFrost Pan Szymanowski

That's what Western Ukrainians have been doing for the last 23 years: constantly disparaging the South East population of Ukraine. And this is a mild insult: they use much stronger words.

Their arrogance is unbelievable.The west of Ukraine almost teaches the others which heroes they should glorify, where they should go politically, which language they should speak and so on.

So it's no surprise that people don't want to live with them.


Laserlurk

In Ukaraine it is just going to be as Russians want - a federation.
Whether US/EU want it or not. Every other confusing attempt to search for some other solution is going to put Russian boots on the ground.
I would call this referendum more of a vertical scan of the will of the population to justify all anticipated moves that Russia has at its disposal.
US/EU can only watch, learn and possibly apologize for the mess.

Bakaro Laserlurk

What other/better solutions do you see? Military occupation of E Ukraine by W Ukraine?


RuStand

Brennan, CIA Director on Ukraine:
"Clearly, what we want to see happen is for the Ukrainian people to have their ability to define their future, free from outside interference and harm."

LOL

Trudi Goater RuStand

We want to see this only if we can tell them what to do!


Андрей Скочилов

G.Phillips in Slovyansk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-nLdkmcb6U

Locals recognize him and warmly thank him for truth

jgbg Андрей Скочилов

Some of them may have heard of the threat made on Twitter in which someone from the Nazi side had offered US$10000 to silence Graham Phillips.

NojoKing

The USA and EU will consider the referendum ilegal. Should have been done "à la Kiev" - Sparta style, they said - with a crowd gathered in Donetsk main square cheering, booing, clapping and screaming and its results should be declared valid for ALL EAST UCRAINE, may be even for the WHOLE COUNTRY! Silly people of Donbass, you don't know ANYTHING of REAL DEMOCRACY, you have to watch and learn! :D

BeatonTheDonis

The head of Ukraine's security council, Andriy Parubiy, said the referendum was "Putin propaganda" and "similar referendums were held by Hitler in Austria". Parubiy, who led the volunteer security forces during the Maidan protests in Kiev, and now commands the National Guard, a force drawn from the Maidan protesters and used against the separatists in east Ukraine.

He added: "Europe needs to understand that because Hitler was not stopped at the beginning, it led to a huge war and millions and millions of victims.

Well he'd know, as founder of the Social National Party of Ukraine.

[May 11, 2014] Ukraine's mining, steel Metinvest urges Kiev 'to admit mistakes'

May 11, 2013 | ITAR-TASS World

"We believe that Ukrainian troops and other armed people should leave the city immediately", - the document

KIEV, May 11, 11:24 /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian mining and steel group of companies Metinvest which is owned by business tycoon Rinat Akhmetov urged Ukrainian leadership "to admit irreparable errors" and to stop a punitive operation in Donetsk Region in the southeast of the country. The statement made public by the Metinvest press service contains a demand to withdraw troops from Donetsk Region, including from the city of Mariupol. Metinvest also stated about formation of people's militia from workers of metallurgical plants incorporated in the group.

"We urge you to give up large-scale clashes with use of armed forces, heavy military hardware and weapons in peaceful cities of Donbas [the main Ukrainian coalmining region]. We believe that Ukrainian troops and other armed people should leave the city immediately," the document runs.

"All possibilities of peace talks are not exhausted," Metinvest noted. "Current authorities can and should heed to the voice of Donbas residents. Further military operations in the region will lead only to most residents losing their trust and respect to current authorities," the statement reads.

"Metinvest Group proposes to admit irreparable mistakes which were made in the city of Mariupol and other Donbas cities, withdraw troops, engage in a dialogue with people, take compromising political decisions urgently seeking to lift social tension," the Metinvest press service said.

The group of companies also noted that Metinvest and municipal police were forming militia squads of workers of metallurgical plants to maintain order in the city of Mariupol. "These militia squads will patrol the city and will protect civilians from looters and criminals rampaging in the city," the press service added.

[May 11, 2014] Is it "end of the beginning" using Churchill words for junta ?

A week ago I sensed that there is resistance in Europe and especially in offical Germany against the U.S. led aggressive campaign against Russia:

Even the most staunch transatlantic tabloid in Germany, Bild, today reports (original here) that the CIA and FBI with dozens of agents are running the show in Kiev. The report is based on "German security sources" which lets me believe that the German government is looking for ways to counter Washington's moves.

More intentional "leaks" were published today in the same media, the high circulation Bild am Sonntag print edition. According to this online summary (in German by the Bild sister paper Welt ) two different issues were revealed:

Both claims are sourced to BND security briefings in the German chancellery.

The first claim seems plausible as it confirms accusations made earlier in several Russian media. Commentators in the German media seem to accept it even while expressing some doubts about the second claim. Hardly anyone in Germany today believes anything claimed by the NSA :-).

somebody

Actually, you also find amazing stuff in the US Main Stream Media

Boston Globe - Ukraine regions hold sovereignty vote

Moscow and many in Ukraine's east denounce the new government as a nationalist junta and allege that it intends to trample on the rights of eastern Ukraine's Russian-speakers.

More than 30 people have been reported killed since Ukrainian forces began mounting offensives to retake some eastern cities now under control of the insurgents.

Turchynov's chief of staff, Serhiy Pashynskyi, pledged Sunday that the government would seek to avoid further civilian casualties. ''We will not engage in street fights in Slovyansk or elsewhere because that will lead to dozens of unnecessary deaths,'' he told reporters.

It is over.

somebody

It is like a breach in a dyke now.

Der Spiegel - in German - Hatred of Kiev drives Eastern Ukrainians to the voting booths

S Brennan

I don't think the "dyke" has broken by any means. Der Spiegel - in English is still lock step with the authoritarians of the US "Deep state"

I live in a city completely dominated by Obama's most ardent followers and their media "informed opinion" is that Obama is a victim in all of this. They also believe, almost to a person, that Putin is a monster in the vein of Hitler bent on world domination.

Hillary Clinton stating that Putin is as evil as Hitler, while nonsensical to sane people, is the overwhelming accepted by the majority of this city's "liberals".

Oddly, my friends in the southern city to which I am moving, think we are provoking the Russians for no good reason. I presume the difference lies in having been "burned" by Bush [their expression], having served in Uniform...and not trusting anything Hillary says informs this opinion.

At some point this nation is going to have to grips with the fact that Obama-supporters/"liberals" love war....so long as they, their friends and children don't serve. Obama is responsible for 4 wars by my count and this last war of Obama's looks to be a war that will produce offspring for decades.

[May 11, 2014] Ukraine: referendum on 'self-rule' in eastern regions begins

May 11, 2014 | The Guardian | Jump to comments (2926) | Selected Comments

Shaun Walker ✔ @shaunwalker7

Donetsk is an English city! (the founder was Welsh actually, but why split hairs)


Shaun Walker ✔ @shaunwalker7

Been to two schools on outskirts of Donetsk with @obk - lots of voters, big queues, all so far voting for the creation of Donetsk Republic

Shaun Walker ✔ @shaunwalker7

Both these true:

  1. Referendum is farcical by any normal standard;
  2. There is huge anti-Kiev and smaller but growing separatist sentiment.


Mike Giglio ✔ @mike_giglio

Very crowded Donetsk polling station says it has gone through half of its 5k ballots, might run out.

In his piece for today's Observer, , the Guardian's sister paper, Shaun Walker makes this observation.

There are many in Mariupol and across eastern Ukraine who are horrified by the armed uprising; some of them are ethnic Ukrainians, others are simply middle-class professionals or intellectuals and fear that events here could slip into anarchic violence. Although they try to keep quiet in the current atmosphere, supporters of Ukrainian unity are numerous.

Nevertheless, Kiev's labelling of those seizing buildings here as "terrorists" has not helped to calm tensions, and the Ukrainian government appears to be in denial that increasingly large swaths of the population are backing the resistance movement, spurred on by the Russian media and the rumour mill, and increasingly by the bloody death toll from Kiev's "anti-terror" manoeuvres.

These are the circumstances in which the town, and the rest of the region, is holding the referendum that will ask whether people want to set up a Donetsk people's republic. The question uses a Russian word, samostoyatelnost, that could mean independence or could mean slightly less.

It is possible that the de facto authorities are wheeling back from demanding full independence after Russian president Vladimir Putin's words last week that the referendum should be postponed, or after messages conveyed privately that Russia is not ready to offer open military support or absorb the territory "Crimea-style".

Shaun Walker has just sent this update on a vote that is leaning heavily to a 'yes' vote for self-rule.

It's a warm sunny day in Donetsk, and I've visited a few polling stations. Most have queues. Partly that is because not many polling stations are working, but partly it is because there is genuinely a lot of people wanting to vote. Almost everyone I have met is voting yes, those who don't agree with the vote are mainly staying at home.

Ludmila Babushkina, 78, said she had cast her vote to protect the region from "fascists" in Kiev. She said that previously there had been a chance to make some kind of compromise with Kiev, but that none of the leading candidates in the election represented the Russian-speaking east of the country.

She said that the referendum is causing divisions among people.

"My neighbour argued with me this morning and told me that I should not vote, that we don't need any of this. To be honest I was pretty surprised that she had fascist views, she seemed nice."

At a polling station set up in a school in Donetsk, 27-year-old Alexander Baturenko was one of the volunteers helping to organise the vote. An economics graduate who now works in as an accountant in a big company, he said he hoped the region would become part of Russia.

"It's much quieter and more peaceful there," he said. "Here it's one president after another, there it never changes."


ben plesser @BenPlesser

"The US has double standards. They called the demonstrators in #Kiev heroes but the call us terrorists" says Irina

Summary

Closing summary

Pro-Russian rebels claimed